DAVE Langston is much more content now his Rocester side has recorded three wins on the bounce to climb into the Midland Alliance top 10.
The Romans boss had to watch on as a fixture backlog caused by the club’s FA Vase run – as well as bad weather at the turn of the year – dumped his side into the bottom half of the table.
But three wins on the spin, including a double over struggling Highgate United, has left Rocester in 10th and much closer to the top-six finish the manager craves.
“Highgate’s manager told me we were one of the best sides they’ve played and are a top-five team,” said Langston. “He admitted they just couldn’t live with us.
“They’ve been good performances recently, but Saturday I’m down to the bare bones again.”
Rocester host second-placed Stourport Swifts tomorrow, kick-off 3pm, missing four players through suspension and two through outside commitments – and Langston is trying to sign players up to get a bench together.
Jack Langston, Chris Sterling and Carl Allen are all banned for red cards, while Ryan Pirrie is missing because of picking up 10 yellow cards – although the combative former Burton Albion youth is probably now out for the season with an ankle problem.
Chris McComisky and Karl McLeod are both missing with work commitments, while back-up striker Craig Smith has an ankle injury.
“I can’t see Ryan playing again this season,” said Langston. “It’s tough at the moment with the suspensions all kicking in together and I’m down to the bare XI for Saturday.
“I’m ringing round trying to get players signed up just to get a squad for Stourport – I’ve spoken to (former Rocester and Gresley striker) Morgan Hurley and we could sign him.”
One player who has arrived is 16-year-old Chasetown forward Kieran Mortiboys, who has impressed in his two appearances since coming to Hillsfield on loan.
“He’s in Chasetown’s academy,” said Langston. “He looked like Ronaldo on Tuesday night when he played out wide against Highgate in a 4-5-1.
“He’s got pace, good feet and really is like Ronaldo.
“We got him thanks in part to Dave Woodvine, who broke his leg playing for Rocester and is now doing some coaching at Chasetown.”
Craig Marshall, who was once a prolific goalscorer at Evo-Stik level with Sutton Coldfield Town, could play some part at Hillsfield soon but is building his fitness ahead of playing following a knee injury.
ROCESTER FROM: Froggatt, Rogers, Bullock, Johnson, Bromley, Mortiboys, Swain, Ahenkorah, D McLeod, Kinch, Leonard, plus possible new signings.