20th Nov, 2018

We cannot afford to be complacent against South Normanton Athletic, warns Bromsgrove Sporting boss Smith

Craig Gibbons 29th Sep, 2017

MANAGER Paul Smith has warned Bromsgrove Sporting must not show any complacency at South Normanton Athletic this weekend.

After playing fellow pacesetters Sporting Khalsa, Coventry United and Lye Town in the last three weeks, the Rouslers travel to Derbyshire tomorrow (Saturday) to face a side which lies 16th in the Midland League Premier Division table.

Having picked up seven points from a possible nine during that tough run, including a 2-0 win against Lye last Saturday, Smith told the Standard it is important his players do not take last season’s East Midlands Counties League runners-up lightly.

The Sporting boss went to watch Athletic in their 2-0 defeat to league leaders Coleshill Town last month and Smith admits concentration from set-pieces could be key to getting the three points this weekend.

“They are the biggest side I have ever seen,” he said.

“All their players were at least 6ft 4in so they could cause us some problems from corners, free-kicks and throw-ins.

“Athletic are a big, strong unit, they are very set in their ways shape-wise and defend in numbers.

“And from what I gather they are much better at home than they are on the road but we need to focus on what we want to do.

“It would be quite easy to think this game is a ‘gimme’ but it’s going to be even harder for the players to be at it on the back of a tough run.

“We cannot afford to take them lightly otherwise it could be a similar situation to when we lost to Coventry Sphinx.”

Liam Spink, Daniel Morris and Max Loveridge, all of whom missed the Lye game, are to return to the squad.

Meanwhile, Joe Ward is set to be out for just one more week after having the staples from a gashed shin removed.

“I will actually have close to a full strength squad to choose from this week which is exciting,” Smith said.

“To get a win over Lye without the likes of Spink, Morris, Loveridge and Ward just shows the strength in depth we have got which is fantastic to see.

“A game plan has been put in place for the game at Athletic and if the players carry it out I am sure we can get a positive result.”

Sporting then make the trip to AFC Wulfrunians on Tuesday night (7.45pm KO) for a Polymac Packaging League Cup second-round encounter.

Smith revealed he would be using that game as a chance to get minutes into players who had not experienced much first-team action.

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