Sidmouth Town at near full strength for home meeting with Axminster Town

Footie. Ref miscsp 43-17TI 2258. Picture: Terry Ife

Footie. Ref miscsp 43-17TI 2258. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town head into the big East Devon derby with Axminster Town tomorrow with a near full-strength squad of 17, with the only absentee being the suspended Danny Clay.

Will Jenkins, Martyn Hancock and goalkeeper Jake Wreford, who all missed last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Crediton United, are back available for selection, which gives joint-boss Kev Tooze something of a selection headache.

He says: “It’s one of those games that I’d expect everybody to want a slice of. That said, I am ‘old school’ in as much as I really do not believe players should need extra special motivating for a game. If they aren’t up for a game of football then what are they doing involved in the game? You spend a long time looking back on your footballing days and should cherish every moment you get to play the sport – while you can!”

Looking back at the 3-1 defeat at Crediton United last Saturday, Tooze says: “We had ‘one of those days’ when we actually did not play too badly as a team and yet ‘nowt’ worked for us.

“Trailing 1-0 at the break, we tweaked a few things and were very good in the second half, fully deserved our goal to get back on terms and then got done with their second, which came from us giving the ball away softly, and then, hand on heart, there was a big element of ‘off-side’ about their third.”

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He continued: “We hit the frame of the goal a couple of times and you just have to take those things on the chin. Right now, as we struggle for a little bit of confidence and consistency, it’s the way it goes. If we were high-flying, that ball would hit the post and go in, but we are not flying and so, as is often the case, it hits the post and stays out – but that’s football and all part of the game we love!”

So how does the Town joint boss view the meeting with Axminster? He replies: “It’s got the lot hasn’t it? A former manager coming back to where he spent many happy moons, a striker in red-hot form who was scoring goals for us not that long ago and a visiting team that is flying high in the table. Adding to the mix is the fact that we have very good availability for once and we did beat them [Axminster Town] at our place earlier in the season in a cup tie.

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“The pitch cut up quite badly last weekend so, as long as the rain stays away and it gets no worse, we’ll have, at best, a heavy surface, which will add to the intensity of the game. I am looking forward to it as I expect it to be a good one!”

He concluded: “With Danny [fellow joint boss Danny Burwood] away, Brendon Willey has offered to help. He’s a smashing lad with a coaching badge and knows his stuff and together we’ll hopefully guide the lads to dig out a good all-round performance. We’ll give it our best and if that isn’t good enough then so be it, we’ll dust ourselves down and go again on Boxing Day.”

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