Pay what you want to help Cleeve survive
FANS are being invited to pay what they want at Kayte Lane tomorrow as Bishop's Cleeve bid to lure a bumper crowd for their Southern League survival showdown with Winchester City.
Bottom of Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South and West, Cleeve go into the game knowing that a win would see them overtake their visitors and significantly boost their hopes of avoiding the drop.
And the club are hoping that reduced admission prices – although with a minimum donation of £3 preferred – will help swell the crowd and give them a vital edge.
Boss Alex Sykes hopes that the community of the village and its surrounds will give his side enough vocal encouragement to see them over the line in what he calls a 'must-win game'.
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"As much as you try to take the pressure off the lads in the lead up to the game, they're not stupid and they know what our position is and what is at stake," Sykes said.
"It is a must-win game and the club have realised that with the efforts they are going to in terms of getting a big crowd in.
"We would love to have the community of the village and football fans around the county come down to support us, as it may prove to be vital in terms of our battle for survival.
"Cheltenham Town are away at Burton Albion and if any of their fans want to pop along and give us some support then that would be really appreciated. They may even enjoy the game."
The importance of tomorrow's game (3pm) was ramped up a notch when the Villagers were thumped 4-1 by county rivals Cinderford Town on Wednesday night.
A Lee Smith hat-trick and a goal from ex-Robin Dave Bird meant that an Alex Hoyle goal was far from enough for Cleeve.
There was also a human cost to the defeat with player-boss Sykes breaking a finger late in the game – a knock that will force him into the dugout tomorrow.
One positive though is that former Gloucester City and Cirencester Town midfielder Scott Claridge is set to make his second start after his switch from Northern Senior League club Minsterworth.
Sykes said: "Scott is a lively lad in the dressing room and is good on the pitch too.
"He did well in his first game on Wednesday and hopefully there is more to come on that front."
As part of the 'pay what you want' initiative, the Villagers are offering free admission to accompanied under-16s tomorrow.
The club have asked for a £3 minimum donation, but would be more than happy to accept any more.