Football: Rob Cousins believes Yate Town can be a match for Mangotsfield
YATE TOWN might be heading into their derby at Mangotsfield on Saturday as underdogs, but manager Rob Cousins insists his side can be a match for anyone in Division One South and West of the Southern League.
The Bluebells are five places below and 11 points behind fifth-placed Mangotsfield, who have won eight and drawn one of their last nine games.
Cousins is excited about the potential of his young and raw squad after undergoing a major rebuilding job in the summer, though, and has challenged them to go on a similar run.
“We’ve put in good performances over the last four or five months but not sustained it consistently and that’s what we need to do now,” said Cousins, who has won on all his previous three visits to Cossham Street since becoming Yate manager.
“The best teams in any league at the top string wins together.
“(Mangotsfield manager) Richard Thompson had a season of rebuilding last year and now is reaping the rewards like we hope to next season, if not this season, with these young players.
“He’s got his team on a roll, confidence is certainly high in their camp but we’ve got to be confident ourselves to take the game to them.”
Cousins felt Yate’s impressive 2-1 home victory against Bridgwater Town last Saturday was crucial after a run of four league games without a win and a timely boost ahead of their first meeting with Mangotsfield this season.
“If we’d lost the gap gets bigger between us and the top six or seven,” said Cousins.
“When we’re prepared to work hard we’re a match for any side because we’ve got the ability, but if we give players time and space on the ball that’s when we come unstuck.
“It’s a very young team and with the small squad I’ve got we’ve missed key players over the last few weeks.
“It makes a big difference. If you can field key players in the spine of the team you give yourselves a chance.”
Left back Nuno Felix has left Yate to join Southern League rivals Clevedon Town after falling down the pecking order, but Cousins has been in contact with Swindon Town boss Mark Cooper and Bristol Rovers manager John Ward about making some loan additions, with a winger and striker at the top of his list.
Cousins felt the win over a Bridgwater side featuring Tom Warren, Geraint Bater, Danny Wring and Mitchell Page, who all left Lodge Road in the summer, shows his current crop of players are heading in the right direction, although he hinted that an unnamed former favourite could return to the club in the near future.
He said: “We’re still learning but if we’re prepared to work like we did on Saturday then we’ll get our rewards.
“There were a lot of ex-players coming back who wanted to show that they’re missed but they’re not missed.”
“There are only a couple of players we’d like back at this club and we showed we’re a match for the top teams”
James Harmer (back) could return for Yate at Mangotsfield but Tom Seery (knee) is out.
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