IAN LONG says Alvechurch will savour the role of underdogs as they aim to strengthen their play-off credentials at rivals King’s Lynn Town in tomorrow’s South Premier Central match of the day.
The Church, who lie fifth in the table, will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games on Saturday against another of the league’s form teams who occupy third place.
King’s Lynn, who top the league’s form standings over the last 10 games, were 3-0 winners at Lye Meadow in November but Alvechurch boss Long says his side will not fazed by playing one of the biggest clubs in the league on their own turf who average nearly 700 home gates.
“We go there as underdogs but we won’t worry about that,” said Long. “We’ve been in good form in the last few weeks and let’s see if we can carry that against King’s Lynn.
“We’re joint top of the form guides over six games and King’s Lynn are top over ten games so both teams will fancy their chances. They’ve done well since Ian Culverhouse went back there as manager. It will be a good result if we can go there and get something.”
Alvechurch made it four wins out of five last weekend, with Aaron Lloyd grabbing an injury-time decider to defeat Rushall Olympic at Lye Meadow.
After a three-match losing streak over Christmas, Long has been delighted with the response from his players.
“After losing those three games, the reaction has been more important than the run,” said Long. “We could have started to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve not been used to losing matches because of the successes we’ve had over the last few seasons.
“Don’t get me wrong we’ve probably played better football but we’ve been able to win ugly. On Saturday, we were second best for long periods but we managed to grind it out.”
Long was particularly pleased to see Lloyd bag the winner to silence a few critics. The striker had come on as a substitute and struck four minutes into the second period, firing home after the Rushall defence failed to deal with Tom Turton’s free-kick.
“Aaron has had a little bit of stick which has been a bit unfair,” said Long. “Fans pay their money and they are entitled to have their say but I think Aaron is a bit of an unsung hero.
“You look at the results with Aaron Lloyd playing, and the results without Aaron and we’re a better side with him. He’s a big lump but he works so hard for the team. He makes a difference when he plays.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Theo Llewellyn has linked up with Romulus to get match practice but will remain a part of the Church plans.
The summer recruit’s bright start to the season was halted by a shin injury and then was ill after joining Mangotsfield when the student return to Bristol over Christmas.
“Theo is a massive part of our plans,” said Long. “He is very highly thought of by us all. He needs games so he’s gone to Romulus for a few weeks.”
Goalkeeper Charlie Price is also set to depart short-term. He is expected to join Gresley as he makes his comeback from a back injury.