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Town boss Bristow looking for a reaction
BASINGSTOKE Town manager Jason Bristow is looking for a marked improvement from his players as they prepare for two vital home games.
The Camrose club slipped into the Blue Square Bet South relegation zone after their fifth defeat in seven league games at Weston-super-Mare last weekend.
Town turned in a terrible performance in Somerset, trailing 3-0 after just 20 minutes on the way to a 5-2 defeat – and Bristow wants to see a positive reaction from his side in their upcoming home games against Dover and Eastbourne Borough.
“How we respond is key,” he said. “You could see that the players were hurting after the game and we all want to put it right on Saturday.
“This is a big week for us. We have got to put last week behind us, prove we are capable, and show the heart that we have in the squad.
“We have got to look at why we are not performing how we should be. We have to look at ourselves, see what we are doing wrong and try to make it better.”
Bristow’s men face two home games in the space of four days, with Saturday’s game against a strong Dover side (kick-off 3pm) followed by a visit from struggling Eastbourne on Tuesday.
Despite their poor start, Town are just six points outside the play-off places – but they really need to win both games in order to prevent a significant gap opening up.
“We have to get points on the board,” Bristow added. “It’s getting to the stage where draws are no good to us. We need to get three points against Dover and go on a good run.”
Saturday’s performance at Weston was undoubtedly Town’s worst under Bristow – and the Basingstoke boss admits that he has some tough decisions to make when it comes to picking the team this week.
Matt Warner will return after missing the trip to Somerset due to work commitments, while experienced midfielder Stuart Lake could also come into the reckoning after several weeks out with a broken toe.
“Saturday was a real eye-opener and there might be a few changes in the starting line-up,” Bristow said.
“Stuart Lake is getting more and more frustrated watching on from the sidelines and is desperate to push himself into contention. We have missed his experience in midfield so it would be great to have him back.”
Ross Adams remains on the sidelines with a knee injury, so on-loan Aldershot centre-back Douglas Bergqvist will continue to deputise. Bristow will also be without midfielder Jide Ogunbote, who has joined Dulwich Hamlet on loan to regain sharpness following a long injury lay-off.
Saturday’s opponents Dover were one of the pre-season title favourites. However, like Town, they have not got off to a fantastic start.
They are currently 11th in the table, having lost 3-1 at home to early leaders Salisbury last time out, but they are unbeaten away from home, taking 11 points from five games.
Bristow said: “Dover set up a bit differently away from home. They will be tough to break down but it is up to us to figure out a way of doing it.
“Dover have got a very talented squad. We have got to be strong and need 11 men out there, both physically and mentally.
“Both sides started the season with a lot of expectancy that they have not lived up to.
“It should make for a good game, and hopefully we can come out on top.”
Log on to basingstokegazette.co.uk/sport for live updates from the Camrose on Saturday.