Centurions boss demands game-faces as raft of old boys return
THE old pals act can wait until after the game – Cirencester Town have a task to accomplish when some friendly faces from Evesham United rock up at the Corinium Stadium tonight.
As many as six former Centurions will make their Cirencester returns with the Robins, but boss Brian Hughes will not be rolling out the welcome mat for his former charges.
Strikers Carl Brown and Marcus Palmer both netted in Saturday's 4-4 draw with Taunton Town, while Matt Sysum, Marc Richards, Jared Wilson and Richard Mansell all have Cirencester links.
But Hughes wants there to be a strictly business-like feel to the pre-game preparations as his side look to build on an excellent 2-1 opening day win at big-spending Tiverton Town.
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"We have an attitude at our club where we treat any visiting team with professionalism before the game – we can be as pally as we want with them over a drink afterwards," Hughes said.
"There are a number of former players in their ranks and we know that it will be a really tough game against a good side.
"Marcus Palmer is a player who always seems to have that voodoo sign on us, in that he always scores against us, and they have threats all over the park."
But Cirencester have also assembled a side packed with goal scoring options, with summer signings Lee Smith and Steve Davies adding some much-needed pace and potency to the ranks.
Smith capped his second Centurions debut with a brace at Tiverton, in a performance that could and probably should have been over as a contest long before the final whistle.
"We played really well and the scoreline flattered Tiverton a little and we had to live on our nerves late in the game because we hadn't put them to bed," Hughes said.
"If I had to be ultra-critical of my players then it was with our finishing – maybe we should have killed them off before we did.
"But in the cold light of day we are chuffed with the performance as it's a tough place to go and get a result and it's a good building block for the season."
Hughes' options could well be boosted by the inclusion of Gloucester City loanee Will Morford tonight after the forward sat out the Tiverton game with a swollen knee.
And the Centurions boss is relishing the fact that he may have to leave one of Smith, Davies and robust central striker Sam Collier out of the side to accommodate Morford's return.
"Our aim in the summer was to make ourselves better at the front of the pitch and Lee, Steve Davies and Will Morford give us options there," Hughes said.
"It's not often that at Cirencester we have a selection dilemma with four quality forward players up front, but it's going to be one I will enjoy having for the time being."