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Bishop's Stortford coach Tom Coleman eyes big improvements in pre-Christmas games against Caldy, Chinnor and Cambridge in National League 1

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Places will be up for grabs when Bishop’s Stortford begin a massive run of pre-Christmas fixtures at home to Caldy on Saturday (December 4).

Joint head coach Tom Coleman was far from impressed with his side’s performance in a 16-6 defeat at Blackheath at the weekend as they failed to build on the previous week’s victory over Birmingham Moseley.

And he is expecting a big improvement at Silver Leys as his team entertain opponents who had been on an eight-game unbeaten run in National League 1 before losing 26-20 to leaders Rosslyn Park last time out.

“It was difficult conditions at the weekend but it’s the same for both sides so that’s not an excuse,” said Coleman. “Unfortunately the players didn’t show the same mentality they showed the week before against Birmingham. Against a good team, you’re not going to win if you can’t do that.

“Unfortunately we had some of our frailties come to the surface – our set-piece was shocking and our kicking game wasn’t great either, so we got put under a lot of pressure.

“We’re back to square one and now we’ve got a huge game on Saturday. Caldy will be a very difficult game because their strengths can be our weaknesses.

Bishop's Stortford's joint head coach Tom Coleman. Pic: Vikki Lince. (53206927)
Bishop's Stortford's joint head coach Tom Coleman. Pic: Vikki Lince. (53206927)

“We’ve got to react as a group and I know we’ve got that in us. We’ve got to be happy that we’re playing at home as we’re strong at home, but we know we’ve got to start getting on the right side of some results away as well.

“When you put in a performance like we did on Saturday it means everyone who didn’t play has got a chance at training to put their hand up, and I’m also expecting the players who did play to be running around trying to make sure they’re not dropped.”

After hosting sixth-placed Caldy on Saturday, Stortford visit third-placed Chinnor and entertain seventh-placed Cambridge before the festive break.

“For us there’s no better run of fixtures as Caldy will be a huge test up front for us and then we have a huge rivalry with Chinnor and Cambridge,” said Coleman, whose side remain 12th in the table.

“We want to put our foot down on the accelerator as traditionally we’re a strong team after the Christmas break going into February and March, but it would be nice to start that run now in these exciting games.”

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