Otters at full strength for Paignton Saints visit

Action from Ottery St Mary's 5-0 loss against Watcombe Wanderers. Picture: Sam Cooper

Action from Ottery St Mary's 5-0 loss against Watcombe Wanderers. Picture: Sam Cooper - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary entertain third-placed Paignton Saints in a Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League North & East fixture at Washbrook Meadow tomorrow (3pm).

Action from Ottery St Mary's 5-0 loss against Watcombe Wanderers. Picture: Sam Cooper

Action from Ottery St Mary's 5-0 loss against Watcombe Wanderers. Picture: Sam Cooper - Credit: Archant

The Otters have played only seven times in the last 13 soggy weeks and still have 13 league games to play over the final eight weeks of the season. Factor in cup matches - the Otters entertain Beer this coming Wednesday night (March 11) - and it makes for a busy time ahead, on and off the pitch, for all concerned with the club.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Paignton Saints, team boss Mikey Ringer says: "It was something of a blessing that last Saturday's game was lost to the weather for it gave us an extra week to get key players like James Gosney and Curt Winchombe to recover from injury.

"Hopefully, tomorrow we will also be able to welcome back Matt Ayres, something we will do if he passes a late fitness test and we have also managed to secure the signing Albert Southall-Brown from Feniton. Albert is a player I have admired for some time and he will certainly add quality to our ranks. On top of that I am anticipating the defence being at full strength which gives us a good chance of getting a positive result."

The Ottery boss continued: "The find of this season has to be young Callum Crow who has made the berth of central defensive midfielder his own and, even at the tender age of 17, he has certainly shown that it is not age that is a factor in getting into the team and then showing you are a good player - no, it's more a case of attitude and he has a great one for all things football."

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With a full squad available for the game, the Ottery boss is quick to say that he faces some tough decision making with who starts and who sits on the bench.

He said: "With 16 players it does make for tough decisions, but that's what management is all about. A big decision will be just who stays with us and who goes with the Development XI to get minutes under their belt.

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"I am also looking forward to seeing Corey [Ringer] back in the swing of things. He has been out for a lengthy spell, but has shown in recent training sessions that he is nearly back to where he wants to be and, when we get him linking with Connor [Swingler] and Jack [Hobday] they will be as good a 'three' as there is at this level."

On the fact that after this Saturday's home game the Otters face eight out of their next 10 league games away from home, the boss says: "Yes, a long run like that of away games is a strain on finances as we are also not getting a 'kick-back' on revenue with many home games in that period, but it is what it is and we simply have to get on with it. One thing we have been able to do during this sustained period of wet weather is keep the social side of our club active and that has helped revenue at a time when the action has been limited!"

There's plenty of action at Washbrook Meadow over the coming week.

Saturday's first team game against Paignton Saints is followed by Sunday afternoon's ladies meeting with Shaldon Villa. Next Tuesday (March 10) it's the Development XI in Macron League Division Eight action against Bradninch and that is followed by a Wednesday night Morrison Bell Cup tie which is swiftly followed on Thursday night (March 12) by Feniton using the Washbrook Meadow ground and floodlights for their Morrison Bell Cup tie.

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