Tom Jacobs' return is fantastic news, says Bishop Sutton manager Lee Lashenko
By The Bristol Post | Friday, January 27, 2012, 05:00
LEE Lashenko says fit-again striker Tom Jacobs can prove a potent weapon in Bishop Sutton's bid to land a maiden Premier Division title.
The versatile former Clevedon Town and Bristol City youngster is back after two years of recuperation from a serious knee injury.
Jacobs came off the bench during Sutton's 3-2 victory over Radstock Town a fortnight ago and is in the squad for tomorrow's away clash with bottom team Sherborne Town.
Sutton boss Lashenko has made an attempt to prise former Cheltenham Town midfielder Jack Durrant away from one of their chief championship challengers, Bitton.
Lashenko has steered Sutton to eight undefeated games following November's humiliating 5-0 home thumping by Odd Down and he believes there is all to play for as they trail Willand Rovers by just six points, with a game in hand over the Devon pacesetters.
He said: "I feel this is brewing up to being the most open title race in a long time and, provided we stay relatively injury and suspension free, we're in with a chance.
"Having Tom available again is fantastic news – he's a quality finisher and a great lad to have around the dressing room."
Attacking midfielder Kyle Thomas features in a Bristol Manor Farm shirt for the final time tomorrow as they head to third-placed Larkhall Athletic lifted by Saturday's 3-1 away victory over Hallen. Thomas is returning to the United States to resume a soccer scholarship.
Hallen boss Paul Owen has pledged not to make "wholesale changes" for his team's trip to Street. That weekend defeat by Manor Farm was only Hallen's third of the campaign.
"The boys have done immensely well to get us where we are and they'll get the chance to atone for it against Street," said Owen.
Striker Neikell Plummer, signed recently on a dual-registration deal from Yate Town, is poised for his Brislington debut as they travel to Willand Rovers eager to make up for Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Sherborne.
Brislington's defence is bolstered by the return of centre-half Jason Hughes from a ban.
Team Bath defender and former Queens Park Rangers trainee Mike Wright is targeting a starting place for Longwell Green Sports' home meeting with Ilfracombe Town.
Skipper Mark Summers and experienced defenders Lee Vickerman and Ryan Gardiner return to the Longwell ranks, but leading scorer Simon Dew and defender Andy Summers are sidelined by injuries.
In the First Division, Cadbury Heath boss Andy Black welcomes the return to home comforts as his title chasers prepare for the visit of sixth-placed Chard Town tomorrow.
"We've had two away games on the spin and the pitches have been poor in both," said Black. "That said, we've still come away with two scruffy wins (2-1 at Devizes, 1-0 at Almondsbury UWE) and it bodes well that we are picking up points without playing particularly well." Heath head into the fixture 14 games unbeaten and with four straight wins behind them.
Almondsbury UWE aim to pick themselves up from that slender defeat to Black's battlers when they travel to Devizes.
Teenager Josh Compton is braced for a home debut in Roman Glass St George colours for their clash with a resurgent Portishead Town. The 18-year-old keeper has been introduced to the fray as new signing Jeff Hook has been unavailable due to work commitments.
Former Clevedon Town attacking midfielder Kristian Lee, and ex-Yate Reserves full-back Jack Clail are also set for their first Saints run-outs on home soil.
While Hengrove Athletic step-up their search for a new manager to take them into the 2012-13 campaign, boss Jamie Hillman remains in determined mood as he plots a fifth straight victory for his team when they travel to Westbury (2pm).
"We're without a game for a fortnight after this one and a good three points will send us into the break in good heart," said Hillman.
Oldland Abbotonians are out to continue their impressive improvement of late with three home points against struggling Wellington.