Consistency key for Bulls in promotion challenge

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GARY FREEMAN wants to see his players put in consistent performances to maintain Jersey Bulls’ push for promotion.

Combined Counties Premier South rivals Cobham are the next guests at Springfield tomorrow, following a scintillating 6-0 win for the Islanders over Romford in the FA Vase fourth round.

The Bulls are currently fifth in the table and have some ground to catch up if they are to secure promotion at the second attempt. Abbey Rangers currently lead but have played more games than those around them. Badshot Lea (five points ahead of Bulls) and Raynes Park Vale (eight points ahead, from two games more) appear to be Jersey’s closest challengers.

‘I was really pleased with the way we played [against Romford],’ said the Bulls manager.

‘It’s now a case of making sure that we are getting that level of performance on a consistent basis. I don’t think we are far away but sometimes games can get a little stuck.

‘We have always had some tough battles with Cobham and it will be a tight game. It is important that we get that first goal.’

Weather permitting, Bulls have a tough schedule ahead of them over the next six weeks, with 16 league games to play before the end of March and the distraction of the FA Vase inbetween. Lessons would have been learned from last season, where their promotion hopes came unstuck during a similarly tough period, when injuries and fatigue took their toll.

Freeman admits the squad is similar in depth, but feels they are in a much better place to manage the challenge.

‘The bonus is a lot of the Saturday games are at home but a lot of the midweek games are away, which is going to be a challenge,’ he said. ‘We will be playing every three or four days so it will certainly be testing, but I think the squad is in a good place.

‘We had a chat before the game last week and we had a strong 18 sitting in the room with another two or three who weren’t there, so it’s just about trying to manage the expectations they have and making sure we are competitive in all these games.

‘The youngsters have shown real quality and they’ve given us something different. The good thing is, fitness-wise, we are in a really good place. But playing every three or four days does open you up to muscle injuries so we have just got to try and manage that as best we can and keep everyone fresh. We can’t afford to be without four or five of our core players.’

Ben Le Rougetel is unavailable for selection this week, while Fraser Barlow is still working his way back from injury.

Kick off is at 3pm.

Jersey Bulls: Euan Van Der Vliet, Frank Tobin, Jay Giles, Jack Steel, James Quérée (c), Luke Campbell, Sammy Sutcliffe, Joe Kilshaw, Kamen Nafkha, Adam Trotter, Jonny Le Quesne, Miguel Carvalho, Luke Watson, Francis Lekimamati, Sammy Henia-Kamau, Jake Prince, Lorne Bickley

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