Here they are again, just two points off the top with a match in hand as they go into tomorrow’s key clash at home to a rusty St Martin’s side, lying third but also with games in reserve.
Kyle Smith will be back after sitting out last week’s win over Rangers, which is just the fillip this incredibly young Sylvans side need against a team oozing experience, not to mention quality.
Sylvans coach Martyn de Garis describes his 2020-21 charges as ‘a bit different’ to the 2014-15 side which was spearheaded by the striking excellence of Sam Murray and Joe Alvarez, but was always playing catch-up with North, the ultimate champions.
De Garis, who will be without left-side wing-back Ben Langlois tomorrow, recalled he had an exciting crop of youngsters pushing through then, but it was the 38 goals of Murray and 20-odd of Alvarez which kept the title boat floating so long.
‘With this team everyone is chipping in with goals and we’re playing a different system,’ he said yesterday.
Indeed they are. The width and balance provided by wing-backs James Ravenscroft and Langlois is a feature of the new side which has now gone 11 games unbeaten in the league and cup.
Langlois is not seen as star material but he will be missed, said his coach.
‘He gives us good balance. That’s something we’ve got to think about. It’s a shame as he’s an important player for us.’
It’s a shade under eight weeks since the two sides fought out an exhilarating 1-1 draw under the lights at Blanche Pierre Lane.
At that stage those pesky seagulls had yet to attack the BPL main pitch and everything was fairly tickety-boo in the Saints camp.
They led the division, and had lost just one game, a few days earlier in dramatic fashion at Port Soif.
Continued Page 43
from back page
Since that night, they have featured in the league only once, that miserable defeat in Alderney, and their only other outing was a 13-0 FA Cup stroll against the Rangers reserve side.
It’s hardly the greatest preparation for such a key fixture and a scenario made worse by the lights going out on them at Northfield in midweek.
Saints head to St Peter’s without the suspended duo of Ben Coulter and Callum Le Lacheur, but de Garis knows all too well that Saints will be, as much as anything, a big physical test for his very young side.
Regardless of the St Peter’s result, de Garis echoes rival coaches in saying there are ‘many twists and turns to come’.
‘It’s a long way to go.
‘I see North coming into it, Manzur perhaps and even Bels.
‘We could end up fifth or sixth. We’ve just got to concentrate on what we do.’
In tomorrow’s other two Priaulx games, leaders Rovers aim to end a run of two games without a win, with there points at home to bottom of the league Rangers.
With Adam Bullock possibly ruled out for an extended period with a knee issue, Harry Ingrouille is expected to stay in goal.
The reserve No. 1 was blameless in Rovers’ loss at Manzur last weekend, but coach Kevin Gillease wants to see a big improvement in his team’s recent performances.
take in quotes
The other game tomorrow sees Belgraves, 10 points off the top but with two games in hand, welcome Alderney to the Track for the second time this season, the previous game ending in a comfortable 4-0 win for Alfie Le Page’s side.