DAVE Langston hopes the return of two of his star players on Saturday will help Rocester get over a first defeat in eight Midland Alliance games.
The Romans have been in decent form, despite being down to the bare bones through suspension, but the dam finally broke on Tuesday when they lost 2-1 at Dunkirk.
They visit Causeway United on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, with striker Chris Sterling and left-back Carl Allen back from suspensions they incurred for red cards.
“It was a game too far at Dunkirk and there were some tired legs out there,” said Langston. “It’s going to be great having Nutty (Allen) and Sterls back – I might be able to get a full bench together!”
Langston has lost the services of winger Mensah Kinch, who has left the club to drop a level and play for AFC Wulfrunians, and striker Darren Leonard – who used to travel with Kinch – has also departed.
There are unlikely to be any further playing departures as Langston tries to engineer a top-six finish after a season spent chasing FA Vase glory.
To cover for the loss of senior players, in have come youngsters Ben McLeod and Lee Spencer, who impressed Langston on debut against Dunkirk.
“Lee did really well and we were very impressed with him,” said Langston. “He’s only come from Sunday League in Armitage but he did very well for us at right-back.
“Kieran Mortiboys has done well, too, on loan from Chasetown.
“The lads coming in have really helped us out at a very difficult time and we’re all grateful to them and to Lichfield City, who helped us out last week.
“We always knew we’d have a difficult run-in to the end of the season with the backlog of games we built up.
“It’s difficult and it’s just a shame that we might finish lower than we should because of it – we’ve paid for the FA Vase run we had.”
Jack Langston is still suspended, but will return for Tuesday night’s home clash with Ellesmere Rangers, kick-off 7.45pm.
Ryan Pirrie is out with a long-term ankle injury.
ROMANS FROM: Froggatt, Rogers, Bromley, D McLeod, Bullock, Johnson, Bennett, Swain, Leonard, Ahenkorah, Sturgess, B McLeod, K McLeod, McComisky, Spencer, Allen, Sterling, Mortiboys.