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Saunders: Players have got to find their early-season form

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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TIVERTON Town boss Mark Saunders has called for his players to find their early-season form when they face North Leigh at home on Saturday.

The Yellows haven't won since beating Wimborne 2-0 at home on November 17.

It is a run that has seen them slip from the top of the Southern League Division One South & West table to just inside the play-off places.

Defeats to promotion-chasing sides like Hungerford Town and Poole Town have been followed up by four successive draws against sides struggling at the wrong end of the table.

It is something Saunders want to see his players put right.

"Draws aren't good enough and neither have our performance been either," said the Tivvy Town manager.

"We have got to start getting back to winning ways again, because we have gone six (league) games now without getting a win.

"The performances have not been up to scratch or as good as what we were doing in the first half of the season.

"Prior to Christmas, I thought we were excellent, but since the Poole game we have been right of the boil."

Tiverton Town are at home to North Leigh on Saturday – a side who have also had their own dip in form of late, winning just one out of 11 league games.

However, Tivvy go into the match slightly rusty having had last weekend's match at Yate Town postponed due to the poor weather.

"It was disappointing because there is a lot of lads that could have done with a run out," said Saunders.

"Hopefully we are going to have a friendly game against Exmouth Town tonight (Tuesday) so they can get some much-needed minutes. You can only do a certain amount of training, but it is not the same in terms of match fitness."

Despite the poor run of form Saunders adds that there is still lots to play for this season.

Tiverton Town finished last season in ninth and, despite having to lower the wage bill in the summer, the Yellows kept many of their players and head into Saturday's match in a much healthier league position than this time last year.

"I would be happy if we could better where we finished off last season," said Saunders.

"It is still a rebuilding process with the whole of the club, because finances are nowhere near what they used to be.

"We have done well to keep hold of the lads that we had last season, and to be fair to the lads, they have all taken pay cuts and they have all stayed so credit to them.

"It would be nice to finish in the play-offs, but as long as we better what we did last season then I'll be happy. But play-offs isn't out of the question. We've slipped off a bit, but we are still sitting in fifth and a nice little run of results will get us back in there again.

"We have got some important games coming up. We have got Paulton in a rearranged game and they are right there with us. And North Leigh are next up, who are a strong, decent side. But they have also had a little dip in form. Hopefully we can come good for that match."

Tiverton Town's match away at Yate on Saturday was one of five games to be called off in the Southern League Division One South & West at the weekend.

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