Bishop's Cleeve boss John Brough salutes players ahead of FA Cup tie
JOHN Brough has praised his Bishop's Cleeve squad for a marked improvement ahead of their FA Cup trip to Ashford Town (Middlesex) tomorrow.
The Mitres started life under the former Robins defender with two heavy defeats, going down 5-1 at Bridgwater Town and 3-0 at home to Cinderford Town.
But they hit back in some style, thrashing Godalming Town 5-0 at home, buoyed by the arrival of Cheltenham loan duo Joe Hanks and Ed Williams.
They then took an early lead through Matt Williams at Yate Town on Bank Holiday Monday, but the home side hit back to emerge 2-1 victors with an 80th-minute winner.
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"There has been a big improvement and the performance and result against Godalming were excellent," said Brough.
"Joe and Ed have really helped and we were unfortunate to lose at Yate because we played some good football."
Brough has picked Jamie Moore in goal ahead of Louie Barnfather for the last two matches and he said the pair will continue to battle it out for the starting shirt.
"I felt I needed to take Louie out of the firing line after eight goals conceded in two games," Brough said.
"Jamie came in and did well, but I don't think I'll have a number one this season.
"I am confident in their ability and they'll share duties."
Cleeve's best run in the FA Cup came in 2005/06 when they progressed through five ties to reach the fourth qualifying round.
Paul Collicutt's team were edged out by Eastbourne Borough 1-0 at Kayte Lane.
"We have two big league games coming up next week against Evesham and Shortwood, but we are concentrating fully on the FA Cup now," Brough said.
"The prize money (£1,925) would be nice and it's what clubs like ourselves strive for, a bit of FA Cup success.
"Yate Town knocked out Newport and played Cheltenham in the first round proper last season so clubs at our level can do it."
Ed Williams has been cleared to play for Cleeve, but Cheltenham do not want Hanks cup-tied so he will miss out.
Defender Spencer Hamilton is set for his Cleeve debut, having signed forms on work experience from the Robins.
Striker Bobbie Dale is out and will undergo a scan on his injured ankle today, but winger Jacob Morgan returns after missing the trip to Yate.
Brough is hoping to have Ryan Paddock back in defence, but Jake Lee (toe) is about a week away from a possible return.
Brough said: "We've played some good stuff, but we need to toughen up in defensive areas now.
Ashford play in the Calor League Division One Central.
They have started their season with three points from the opening four fixtures.