Southern League Division One South & West preview: Yate Town v Winchester City

Yate Town goalkeeper Josh Dempsey is rated 50-50 for Southern League clash against Winchester City

Yate Town boss Rob Cousins

First published in Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor covering the Thornbury, Dursley and Yate areas

GOALKEEPER Josh Dempsey could miss several games of Yate Town’s play-off push.

Although the 24-year-old is rated 50-50 for this Saturday’s Southern League Division One South & West clash against Winchester City at Lodge Road (3pm) after going off with a hip injury in the 2-1 victory over Taunton Town last weekend, he is set to undergo surgery on his troublesome knee on Monday.

He picked up the knock in the 3-2 win at Poole Town earlier this month and will be ruled out for at least two weeks after the operation, which will reveal the extent of the damage.

Defender Ollie Barnes is also out over that period as he goes away for two weeks on Monday, causing him to miss the game at his former club Bridgwater next Tuesday, but Roman Glass St George’s Karim Rendall and Almondsbury UWE’s Jordan Rogers have signed on dual registration terms.

With a congested fixture list between now and the end of the season, the duo, who can both play on the wing or up front, will bolster boss Rob Cousins’ options with Yate now just seven points off fifth-placed Tiverton with two games in hand.

The Bluebells are now unbeaten in ten games, which has seen them climb from bottom of the table to ninth, while their next opponents Winchester are on a completely different curve, having only won three times since beating Yate 2-1 in October to fall to 20th in the table, losing the other 15, including ten of the last 11.

However, Cousins has warned that if his side take their foot off the pedal they could slip up at any time.

“We treat every team with respect and can’t rest on our laurels,” he said. “If we have a few defeats we’re back at the wrong side of the table. Everyone is capable of beating everyone so we’ll see where we are in a month’s time.

“We’re trying to apply ourselves the same way each game. We can’t just turn up one game and not the other, we’ve got to show the same hunger, desire the same work rate and we’ll get our rewards. “The pleasing thing recently is we’re working hard and it’s justifying the results.”

Yate suffered their fifth postponement in six games when a waterlogged pitch caused their home game against North Leigh to be called off on Tuesday, but they did get back into action after an enforced two-and-a-half week break last Saturday and Cousins was pleased with the manner of their win over Taunton. He said: “The players were rusty but it was nice to dust off the cobwebs and get three points without playing as well as we have been doing.

“It could’ve been three or four goals but considering we had a break and we lost Josh Dempsey it was a good victory.”

Scott Wilson got on the scoresheet for the third time in four games for Yate since joining from Cinderford and Cousins believes there is more to come.

“He’s playing with confidence after the goals he scored at Cinderford,” said Cousins.

“If he shows the same sort of work rate as Mitchell Page he’ll score a few more and help the team a bit more, but he’s got an eye for goal and I think he can improve.”

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