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Sykes 'absolutely confident' Cleeve will beat drop

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

YOUNG GUN:  On loan Forest Green winger Saul Williams in action for Bishop's Cleeve against Paulton Rovers

YOUNG GUN: On loan Forest Green winger Saul Williams in action for Bishop's Cleeve against Paulton Rovers

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NOW is not the time to start panicking about Southern League survival, according to Bishop's Cleeve boss Alex Sykes.

The Villagers slipped to their fourth consecutive defeat on Wednesday night as Paulton Rovers escaped from the first game at Kayte Lane in nearly two months with a 1-0 victory.

A third-minute goal from James Billing was enough for the visitors to claim a victory, despite the Villagers having the majority of the possession.

And while the defeat leaves Cleeve at the bottom of the Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South and West table, boss Sykes is not about to start worrying about their plight.

"It was another decent performance where we've done everything but score," Sykes said.

"We played some good stuff, I had one cleared off the line and Alex Hoyle hit the bar.

"We were disappointed that we weren't able to get something but I said to the lads that it was no time for doom and gloom.

"It's certainly no time to panic or feel sorry for ourselves as we've got so many games to come.

"We have to almost ignore the fact that it's February as we've got 19 games left and eight wins will see us safe, no worries.

"I'm absolutely confident that we can do that, we have the talent in the squad and we just need to concetrate on getting something from our next game."

Cleeve welcome high-flying Wimborne to Kayte Lane tomorrow.

The Magpies are currently launching a bid for the play-offs in only their second season in the Southern League.

After being forced to make five changes to his side in midweek, Sykes welcomes back some key performers in time for the game.

Assistant manager Matt Rose missed the game due to work commitments but is back, as is Joe Parker who had Hartpury College commitments.

Matt Liddiard was only a substitute because of a Hartpury game earlier in the day and all three will return.

"Having Matt back is a big thing as apart from old-stagers like myself and Steve Jones, we are quite a young side," Sykes said.

"We have some elder statesmen like Mike Jackson and Lee Davis, but even someone like Sam Avery is an experienced player by our standards and he's 23."

Sykes handed a debut to youth team graduate Nick Rhodes against Paulton and he could join fellow youngsters Ben Maguire and Adam Mace in the squad to face Wimborne.

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