PREVIEW: Bateman expecting response ahead of Uxbridge test

Aylesbury FC's Ryan O'Toole is back available for this weekend's encounter with Uxbridge. Picture by Marc Keinch

Aylesbury FC's Ryan O'Toole is back available for this weekend's encounter with Uxbridge. Picture by Marc Keinch

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Aylesbury FC boss Steve Bateman says he is expecting a response from his players when they take on Uxbridge this weekend following defeat last time out.

With last Saturday’s game at AFC Hayes postponed, the Moles have been knocked off top spot in Division One Central of the Southern League ahead of Saturday’s home clash against eighth-placed Uxbridge.

And having tasted defeat in their most recent league outing, Bateman wants his side to respond this weekend.

He said: “To me, Uxbridge are always one of the most difficult sides in the division.

“They have a very experienced manager and a side full of experienced players who will relish games against sides above them and invariably they do well.

“They’ve taken points off all of the sides currently in the top five and they beat us when we had started the season fairly brightly, so it’ll be a difficult game but we’ll be looking to bounce back.

“I expect a response from my players otherwise we’ll have that disappointment again. I think the defeat to Godalming has made them realise again that nothing is going to be given to us and we have to go and earn it every week – and that’s what we’ll look to do again this week.”

The Moles were one of many local sides to fall foul of the weather last weekend when their match at bottom side AFC Hayes was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, and that allowed Bedworth United to replace FC at the top of the table.

However, despite his frustration, Bateman felt it was the right decision to call the game off and he now hopes his side can go on another winning run to consolidate their position in the top five.

He added: “I went on the pitch when I arrived and with some work, we probably could have got the game on, but there weren’t that many people around available to work on it so I think the referee made the right call.

“It was frustrating because I had everybody available and we also had Ryan O’Toole, who’s not been available for the past three months, in the matchday squad.

“I’m looking forward to having him back because I think he can give us an extra injection between now and the end of the season.

“His goal ratio at this level wherever he’s been is good and he’s back and active with us now, so it was disappointing to get all the way there and not be able to play football and then also see that Bedworth have taken advantage.

“It’s just something you have to deal with at this time of year. We’ve got 14 games left and plenty of time to play them, so hopefully we can get going again this weekend.

“Now it’s about building another run. If we have a run in the next 10 games like the last 10 then we’ll be well and truly in those play-off places and looking to see what else we can get from the season.

“But we’ve got something different to deal with now. We’ve been up and around the top of the table for a while now and teams will be a little bit more cautious against us, and up until the Godalming game, we had found a way of getting a result in difficult conditions and we’ll need to draw on that again.”

Saturday’s encounter with Uxbridge kicks-off at 3pm at Aylesbury FC’s Haywood Way.