JERSEY BULLS have an early opportunity to put the disappointment of being knocked out of the FA Vase behind them when they travel to Tadley Calleva tonight.
Following Saturday’s fifth round 1-0 loss to Newport Pagnell Town, Bulls can now focus their attentions exclusively on the league and a push for promotion.
It will be a huge mental and physical test for manager Gary Freeman’s team against a side who have dropped only four points from a possible 30 at home this season and who held Bulls to a 0-0 draw at Springfield in October.
‘It’s going to be difficult to get everyone in the right frame of mind,’ admitted Freeman.
‘It’s important we get off to a good start and get an early goal.’
Bulls currently lie in fourth place in the Combined Counties Premier Division South and cannot afford to drop any more points in the race for the title and an automatic promotion place, with the unrelenting Raynes Park Vale and Badshot Lea eight and five points ahead respectively, with Bulls having two games in hand on Raynes Park.
‘It’s quite clear we’ve got to focus on the league now. We have an experienced group who have got to make sure we can go for a full 90 minutes on the back of a disappointment,’ added Freeman.
‘On the mental side of things it’s going to be a challenge but we need to get maximum points as the other two keep getting results.’
As well as picking themselves up mentally, Bulls have not had much time to recover from a physically bruising encounter in Buckinghamshire against a strong Pagnell side who won the FA Vase last season at Wembley.
‘It was a tough battle,’ said Freeman. ‘We competed with it but we just didn’t have our moment. These are the fine margins.
‘The lads are pretty disappointed. It was an opportunity and we have to take these moments. It was cagey and we didn’t get to play the way we liked to. It was difficult to get the ball down and we could have asked a few more questions of them. But we had four good chances, while Euan [Van Der Vliet] only had one save to make.’
Bulls are missing Miguel Carvalho for tonight’s match. He was lively when he came on as substitute on Saturday and was Bulls’ only real threat all game. He is training with Wolverhampton Wanderers this week, while midfielders Kamen Nafkha and Ben Le Rougetel are also unavailable. Teenager Harry Scott is brought in.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Jersey Bulls: Euan Van Der Vliet, Frank Tobin, Jay Giles, Jack Steel, James Querée (c), Luke Campbell, Sammy Sutcliffe, Joe Kilshaw, Adam Trotter, Jonny Le Quesne, Luke Watson, Francis Lekimamati, Sammy Henia Kamau, Harry Scott, Fraser Barlow, Lorne Bickley.