Otters face tough task at Royal Oak

PUBLISHED: 08:37 13 October 2017

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9027. Picture: Terry Ife

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9027. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Ottery St Mary are in action tomorrow (Saturday) when they head into Exeter to meet Royal Oak in a Macron League Division Three game.

Only basement side Clyst Valley Reserves have played fewer than the three league outings the Otters have so far had.

Royal Oak went through last season’s Division Four campaign unbeaten and, in their home games, they won 14 of the 15 they played - drawing the other one – and scored 82 goals.

They are unbeaten at home since an early April 2016, 5-3 defeat to Whipton and Pinhoe – that one of just two home defeats in league games over the entire past two seasons!

They are something of an unknown quantity for the Otters and boss Dave Fairweather knows his side will need to be on their game to get the three points.”

He says: “They [Royal Oak] have a formidable home record and won their only other league game so far this season 6-0 and only went down 1-0 at table-topping Crediton United Reserves last weekend, so that tells me they are a powerful side.”

He continued: “We were without a game last weekend, but had a great turnout for a full scale training sessions and we have now had three excellent turnouts in the sessions we have held since our last game and that’s given us time to really work on one or two things.”

The Otters are missing both Dan Jewell and Tom Hayes – both out through work – while Jordan Wilkinson remains on the injured list. Apart from those three the remainder of the Otters’ 23-man squad are all fit and raring to go.

Fairweather has got one issue, not just with his players, but with local footballers in general.

He explained saying: “It does irk me that the majority – granted not all – of players seem to be under the impression that if they rock up to a training session and then play a match each week they are ‘match fit’, but that is not so. I know lads go off to the gym, but rarely are they doing the all-important cardio work.”

He continued: “The way we like to play, with a high pressing game, we need to be fit. I feel we are getting there, but it is very much a question of player mindsets. “The thing I crave for here at Ottery is that we have a situation each Saturday night when a player sets off for home asking himself if he has done enough in the game to warrant selection the next week. At the moment I do think the norm is a player goes home ‘expecting’ to find himself starting again the following game and footballing utopia for me is for the former to be the case.

“Competition for places is so healthy. We have added two players to the squad in the past fortnight and I would still like to get two more on board.

“This remains a long-term project at Ottery where we continue to look to move forward while enjoying season-on-season success.”

As for the visit to Royal Oak, the Otters boss is very clear as to what he wants - and expects.

He says: “A good all-round peformance and three points.”

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