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Week 21 Preview – Rocester (A)

After a run of consecutive home games, the Ravens are back on the road for the first time in a month this weekend as they travel to Staffordshire to take on Rocester at their Hillsfield stadium.

It is only a month since we entertained the Romans at the Bowl and while we controlled much of the game that day, Lee Gale’s red card made for an interesting last 20 minutes as the visitors threw everything at us, but the Ravens prevailed to earn another three points.

Our Opponents this Week

Rocester, are based near Uttoxeter and currently sit 19th in the league, one place lower than when they came to the Island in November. Despite their heroic efforts to get something from us in that encounter, Rocester have since lost three out of their last four games. Although they did put a four-game losing streak behind them last week, as they earned a point following a hard-earned draw at Eccleshall.

FC Isle of Man Team News

In recent weeks we have been commenting on how the extensive Ravens’ injury list had appeared to be diminishing. We should have kept our keyboard quite, as manager, Chris Bass is without a plethora of players this weekend.

Chris Cannell and Furo Davies are of course on the longer-term wounded list, but this week Bass has been hit with further injuries to the two-goal hero from last week, Luke Murray, with Dan Simpson also adding to the absentee list. On top of that Ash Higginbotham remains unavailable, while Adam Mealin also cannot play this weekend.

To add to the injury and unavailability list Bass is also without the suspended Lee Gale and Alex Maitland.

The good news is that ‘Man on Fire’ Sean Doyle is back in contention after missing the Alsager Town game, as is Chris Bass jr, who also missed last weekend’s fixture.

As ever however, other’s misfortune on missing out this weekend provides opportunities for others. Veteran defenders Sean Quaye and Sam Caine, both long term injury victims may find themselves thrust into the fray tomorrow. Sean hasn’t played since coming on as a replacement at Stockport Town in September, while Sam hasn’t kicked a competitive ball since the opening day at Maine Road at the end of July.

So perhaps somewhat of a threadbare squad for tomorrow’s fixture, but as everyone in the Ravens squad has proved so far this season, they are all capable of stepping up to the plate. They will need to, as despite their lowly league position, the Romans demonstrated at the Bowl last month they are a determined team and will no doubt provide us another challenging contest.