Bristow preparing for "must-win" Tonbridge clash

Shaun McAuley is a major doubt for Saturday's game.

Shaun McAuley is a major doubt for Saturday's game.

First published in Sport Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

JASON Bristow says that Saturday’s home match against Tonbridge Angels is a “must-win game” for his Basingstoke Town side.

The Camrose club go into the game low in confidence after failing to win any of their last eight games. This terrible run has seen them crash out of all three cup competitions, while only financially stricken Truro City are below them in the Blue Square Bet South table.

Town’s most recent defeat came on Tuesday, when they were knocked out of the Hampshire Senior Cup by Wessex League outfit GE Hamble – and manager Bristow says it is vital that they return to winning ways this weekend.

“Saturday is a must-win game for us,” he said. “We are in a position where we have got to go out and win the game.

“It’s not the be all and end all because it’s still relatively early in the season but we need to get some confidence back and get back to winning ways as quickly as possible.”

Basingstoke’s terrible run means they are now 11 points outside the play-off places. They have amassed fewer points than any other side in the division, with only Truro’s points deduction keeping Town off the bottom of the table.

Bristow added: “We are not that far off the top five still but we have only won three games all season and that is not good enough. We have got to start picking up points as quickly as possible.

“When I took over last season we had a mindset where we were just taking each game as it came. That is what we have got to do now.”

Mid-table Tonbridge will provide Basingstoke with a physical test – and Bristow says he will learn a lot about his players from the way they react to it.

“Tonbridge are a physical side and if we do not match them in that area then we will get found out,” he said. “It’s the sort of game where we will learn a lot about the players and it’s a massive game for them.

“It’s a game where we have to match them like for like and work hard. If we do that then hopefully we can come out on top with a bit of quality.”

Basingstoke will be without key striker Delano Sam-Yorke, who is suspended following the red card he received against Chelmsford in Town’s last league game, while Ross Adams and Jide Ogunbote remain out injured.

To make matters worse, midfielders Shaun McAuley and Stuart Lake are doubts after picking up dead legs at Hamble on Tuesday – but Wes Daly will return after suspension, while Matt Warner is expected to be fit.

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