Young visitors ‘relish’ trip

Jersey Bulls defender, Jay Giles, has recently returned to the squad following a hamstring injury and will wear the captain's armband again tomorrow at Springfield against Camberley Town Picture: TONY FOWLES (37549126)

JERSEY Bulls continue their play-off fight in the Combined Counties Premier South Division by welcoming Camberley Town to Springfield Stadium tomorrow.

The fixture marks their third game in just seven days and Gary Freeman and his side will welcome the chance to use the home crowd to their advantage.

While their home form has not been dazzling this season, Bulls are unbeaten in their last three matches in Jersey and are sitting well-placed in third with a game in hand over rivals Knaphill, who they defeated 2-0 just days ago.

Camberley Town are wedged in the middle of the table, in 13th with a record of eight wins, seven draws and 13 losses.

But the Bulls boss knows they are a young squad who will “relish” the chance to play at Springfield.

“We’re looking forward to this game,” said Freeman. “Camberley have a young squad who like to play forward and attack and I’m sure they will relish the chance to travel over here and play at Springfield in front of a good crowd.

“We’ve had a few matches in a short space of time, which is always tricky to manage, especially with our injury list at the moment.”

The Bulls have welcomed back defender Jay Giles and midfielder Adam Trotter, after both were sidelined for nearly three months.

But the list of absentees still include veterans Luke Campbell and captain James Querée, as well as goalkeeper Euan Van Der Vliet.

Freeman has had to use his full squad depth, including a number of young players, in starting line-ups this season, but believes they have played an outstanding role.

“There’s always injuries in football, especially towards the back end of the season,” he added.

“We are lucky to have such quality strength in depth on the Island and the fact a lot of the players coming in are still so young is promising for the future of the club.

“These youngsters are getting exposure to high level football at an early stage of their career, which will be invaluable to their development.”

Jay Giles’ return from injury has seen him deputise as captain in the absence of Querée, and the full-back is “delighted” to be back on the field.

“Of course, it’s always an honour to wear the captain’s armband,” Giles said.

“I’m leading my island out at Springfield, something I’ve been fortunate enough to do a number of times and something I never take for granted.

“It’s just great to be back involved with the boys.

“It was a frustrating period being sidelined with my hamstring injury, but I’ve been doing all I can to get myself back fit and in among the group again.

“I’m still working up towards full 90-minute fitness, but I feel I’m making great progress and will hopefully be 100% for crunch time come the end of the season.”

Speaking about opponents Camberley Town, Giles continued: “They’ll be competitive and right up for it.

“They’re a young group and they’re hungry, so we can expect them to play on the front foot and come at us.”

In the reverse fixture back in September, Freeman’s side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners away from home, with striker Lorne Bickley bagging a brace that day.

The Bulls number nine has been in scintillating form of late, bagging eight goals in his last five appearances.

This included a match-winning double against promotion rivals Knaphill last week, in which he suffered a nasty cut to his eye after a clash with one of the Knaphill defenders during his stoppage time celebration.

The cut required stitches, which ruled him out of the Bulls’ last match, but the Caesareans welcome Bickley back for Camberley, hopeful that a successful removal of his stitches tomorrow could open the window for him to play.

“Lorne is such a pivotal player for us and he’s really starting to come good in the last few weeks. He’s hit a real purple patch in front of goal,” added Freeman.

“If he is available to play then it would obviously be great to have him and a massive boost to our team.

“We’ve had a lot of experience forced out of the squad through injury or unavailability recently, so it’s a great chance for the younger members of this team to step up.

“We know we are well placed at the moment for play-off’s, but we still need to concentrate on one game at a time.

“This game at home against a club lower in the table than us. We need to make sure we capitalise on these opportunities to keep the pressure on the other teams pushing for play-off spots.”

Action from Springfield Stadium is set to start at 3pm.

Jersey Bulls: to face Camberley Town: Pierce Roche, Ben Le Rougetel, Fergus Boyle, Frank Tobin, Harry Curtis, Jay Giles (c), Sammy Sutcliffe, Will Byers, Calvin Weir, Joe Kilshaw, Jonny Le Quesne, Luke Watson, Ruben Mendes, Francis Lekimamati, Fraser Barlow, Lorne Bickley, Miguel Carvalho, Odinaka Nwokoro.

Combined Counties Premier Division South (Top 5)


Farnham Town 23 23 0 0 75 69

Knaphill 26 16 6 4 32 54

Jersey Bulls 25 15 6 4 30 51

Abbey Rangers 28 15 3 10 3 48

Alton 27 14 5 8 16 47

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