Players Face The Axe
Frustrated Mark Saunders, manager of Tiverton Town, says his current crop of players face the axe unless they start to show greater desire and mental strength.
The Yellows were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup following a 4-0 thumping last Saturday away to Bideford – the same side that recorded a deserved 1-0 win at Ladysmead in the league just over a week ago. Saunders admitted his side imploded in the face of the pressure applied to them by the north Devon outfit at the weekend.
The Yellows return to league action in Oxfordshire at North Leigh on Saturday, and Saunders says his players must shape up quickly or face being replaced by new arrivals. "It is incredibly frustrating that individual errors are costing us so many goals at the moment, but on the other hand we did totally collapse as a team too," said the former Plymouth Argyle midfielder.
"We have to address that or get some new players in who have the bottle to deal with that kind of situation, although that is easier said than done.
"Heads dropped massively in the Bideford game though and we need bigger characters to stop that happening.
"I know it's easy to say but we need bigger personalities and more character when we are in trouble but that is something we have to look at.
"The players need to show a hell of a lot more bottle when things are going against them and the team.
"I know we are going to North Leigh where I've been told not to expect great things because the pitch is on quite a big slope, the surface isn't great and it's not that pretty there, either.
"The slope is quite big, so that might well make it harder for us if we're not used to it. It will probably be a bit more of a fight.
"At least that means that if we can't pass to each other, at least we will be able to fight for each other when we're there."
Saunders made three changes against Bideford – including giving himself a starting berth – as he looked for a reaction following Tivvy's second half submission to the Robins at Ladysmead last Monday.
That also led to a change in formation as Saunders reverted to a 3-4-3 strategy, but he insisted the reasons for Tivvy's disappointing recent results went far deeper than simply how his players were ordered to line up on the day.
"I do know what our best formation is but there is no point in, for example, playing three centre backs against one striker because that is a misuse of players," Saunders said.