Pym back for Otters as they prepare to entertain Paignton Villa

Ottery St Mary goalkeeper Jacob O’Callaghan who ended the first month of the campaign as the Smith’s

Ottery St Mary goalkeeper Jacob O’Callaghan who ended the first month of the campaign as the Smith’s Wines September Ottery St Mary Player of the Month award winner. Picture; OSMFC - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary entertain Paignton Villa tomorrow sitting top of the Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League South & West table by four points after last Saturday’s 3-0 success at Totnes & Dartington.

Football on pitch

Football on pitch - Credit: Getty Images/Image Source

The Otters boss, Billy Rouse is keen that complacently is not allowed to creep into his title-chasing team as they prepare for a game against a team that sit fourth bottom of the table and then meet three other sides later this month – none of who sit higher than sixth in the table.

He says: “We’re sat top of the tree and I want the lads to be confident in the way they play, but we must always respect the opposition.

“It’s too early in the season for the league positions to mean much.

“I back my lads against anyone but we certainly won’t be underestimating any opposition.

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“In my opinion it’s even tougher sitting top of the league as teams may not expect to beat you, so it gives them a free hit and to play with no fear.”

As to the busy start to the season – his side have played eight games in the first 28 of the campaign – the Otters chief says: “I’ve loved the busy start to the season and to come out of a run of so many games in such a short time undefeated has been brilliant.

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“However, now we have a quieter run with no midweek games for the rest of the month and I am looking forward to getting back on the training pitch and working with the lads whilst being able to cast an eye over the reserve and development team players.”

As to who he sees as ‘challengers’ for any silverware in the league this season, he says: “I think before the season started, everyone would have identified Buckland and Okehampton as the title favourites and that’s the way it’s panned out so far.

“You can’t rule anyone out yet and the Plymouth sides (Lakeside, Plymstock and Plympton) have all started well and I’m sure they’ll have their say!

“For our part, we take every game as it comes and that won’t change.”

As for team news for the meeting with Paignton Villa, the Otters boss says: “I am hoping we have Danny Pym back tomorrow after he has bene out for a couple of games through injury.

“Connor Swingler was impressive for the reserves last Saturday and he’s going to be with them again this Saturday to get another 90 minutes under his belt ahead of being back in the first team fold next week.

“Unfortunately, Sam Tanner has suffered an ACL injury so he’ll be out for the full season which is a real shame as he’s been a great lad in the dressing room.

“Ashley Small is no closer to a return after he suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs following an aerial tackle in the Okehampton. “We’ve missed Ash, but hopefully he’ll be back with us in two to four weeks while Darren Carr and Matt Ayres are also side lined through injury so opportunity knocks for the wider squad over the coming weeks.”

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