Cottesmore host Allexton & New Parks in crucial Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division clash at Westray Park
Manager Rich Giblin insists there’s no pressure on his in-form Cottesmore charges when they tackle league leaders Allexton in a table-topping tussle on Saturday.
The Rutland side go into the clash at Westray Park (kick-off 2pm) on the back of a 10-match winning run in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division.
That hot streak has sent Cottesmore up into second spot in the standings, seven points behind Saturday’s visitors with a game in hand.
But, with Allexton arriving protecting the only unbeaten record in the division, Giblin feels they have more to lose than his side.
Allexton have dropped just four points from their 15 league games this season with Cottesmore one of the two teams to share the spoils with the table-toppers after a 2-2 draw in September.
They are one of the four teams – alongside Cottesmore, Friar Lane & Epworth and Rugby Borough – who have also applied for promotion from the Premier Division.
Giblin said: “It’s a big game, but there is no pressure on us because they are the side who are top of the league and are unbeaten all season.
“We probably should have won the game at their place earlier in the season, although they came on quite strong late on.
“They have also had a few close games recently, but the league can be like that sometimes.
“They are a very strong side, but we’re a good side as well and there’s all to play for.
“Hopefully we can get a good number down there to support us and we’re all looking forward to it.
“It’s just nice to be in this situation halfway through the season and it’s great to be in second place, but we’re just the little underdogs at the top.
“Everyone throughout the club has put in a lot of hard work and it’s great to see it start paying off.
“We’ve just got to do what we can on Saturday and, if that isn’t enough, then we’ll go again next week.”
Colton Cropper and Darren Wilke are both expected to be back in contention after being rested for the win over Ellistown last weekend while Danny Seals successfully came through a full game with the Development side on Saturday after a recent knee operation.
Club officials at Cottesmore are also determined to net their goal of promotion despite missing out on a lucrative cash boost.
They had made it into the final throes of the BuildBase £100,000 Transfer Deal competition which culminated in a presentation of their project at Wembley Stadium.
However, they were thwarted in their bid to win a share of the funds with the FA Vase allocation going to Stowmarket Town.
But, despite being denied the much-needed windfall, chairman Steve Duffy insists the Rutland club have still got their sights set on promotion.
Duffy said: “Although very disappointed, we did all we could with our pitch for the BuildBase grant.
“We are proud to even have got as far as we did and, you never know, we might be able to apply again.
“Cottesmore AFC would like to thank BuildBase once again for giving a small village football club an opportunity to pitch at Wembley and we offer our sincere congratulations to Stowmarket FC for winning.
“Cottesmore AFC will continue in our quest to obtain the ground grading requirements for promotion and, although it will be a massive strain both emotionally and financially, it is not impossible.
“We will strive to succeed and, with the support the club receives from players, management, committee, parents and supporters, how can we fail?”
More by this authorJames Bedford