Draper: Catch us if you can

Droitwich Advertiser: Okay for duty: Jon Rogers (left) is available for Sporting ahead of Saturday’s top of the table clash against Atherstone. Okay for duty: Jon Rogers (left) is available for Sporting ahead of Saturday’s top of the table clash against Atherstone.

BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Keith Draper believes the pressure is on their title rivals in the Midland Combination League Premier Division.

The Rouslers top the table after Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 victory at Stafford Town but all their opponents for the championship boast games in hand.

Third-placed Walsall Wood seem in pole-position to overtake Sporting as they have played eight games less but only trail by seven points.

Saturday’s home clash against fourth-placed Atherstone (3pm ko) may also have a big say on the future of the season.

The Victoria Ground outfit were edged out 1-0 by Saturday’s opponents on the opening day of the campaign and Draper is keen for vengeance.

He said: “We outplayed Atherstone on the first day of the season and ended up losing so I would like for us to put that straight.

“No-one has done the double over us in the league so far and I don’t want that to happen.

“It’s a massive game because it’s against one of the sides who are challenging for the top.

“We’ve told the players that the pressure is on the teams below us.

“We may be top but no-one expects us to win the league because so many teams below have games in hand.

“But every team has to play each other and there is a long way for the season to go.”

Draper was also quick to praise the spirit of his squad after they stunned Stafford thanks to late goals for Nick Harris and Matt Ross.

Sporting had been losing 1-0 and had lost Chris Gleadow early in the second-half after he was sent off.

The defender’s ban is set to start at the beginning of February.

“From the start I thought we were the better side,” said the manager.

“We created lots of chances but credit to the players because they never gave up.

“That’s the seventh time this season we’ve come back from behind and the spirit of the squad is excellent.”

The manager also revealed that Harris, Chris Morrison and Jamie Parker have turned down approaches from sides in the Midland Combination or Midlands Alliance.

Meanwhile, midfielder Lee Dunkley left Sporting and joined Studley FC last week.

The manager said: “I was disappointed to see Lee go as we did everything to make him happy.

“But I am delighted that many of the players who have generated interested from other clubs have decided to stay.

“Chris Morrison was wanted by Highgate and Blackwood but he’s decided to stick with us.”

James Turk is expected to have recovered from a thigh strain for Saturday’s clash.

However, striker Jon Rogers is available again for the Rouslers after spending Christmas with his family in Kent.

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