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HELLENIC LEAGUE: Fairford chief searching for balance
MANAGER Paul Braithwaite admits he is still searching for the right ‘balance’ in his Fairford side as they prepare to host higher-division Kidlington in the FA Vase tomorrow.
Braithwaite wants to instil the kind of steel and nous that will enable his troops to see out games, while at the same time not restricting the passing style he feels is unrivalled in the Hellenic League.
“With the squad we’ve got, we go into every game thinking we are capable of winning,” said Braithwaite.
“The issue is that we’ve got a lot to learn so you never really know what’s going to happen.
“There’s a lot of teams that try and play the long-ball channel game, whereas we try and play as much football as we can.
“When it comes to play football you probably won’t find a better footballing team to watch in the Hellenic League, but we also have to learn the other side of the game.
“They are young lads and we don’t want to restrict them because if we do that then they won’t enjoy it. That said, it’s all well and good playing pretty football, you also have to close games out.
“We need to make sure we’re tight and strong all over the pitch and strike a balance.”
Fairford have a full squad for tomorrow’s second qualifying round tie with the likes of defenders Colin Curtis and Ash Taylor and strikers Todd Hathaway and Alex Rudd returning to the fold.
“It will be nice to have a look at the options that are available to us,” continued Braithwaite.
“The team is very young and they need to learn and as a management team we have to help them do that.”
Meanwhile, Highworth travel to Newbury in the Hellenic Premier with assistant Kev Moloney once again taking the reins in the absence of boss John Fisher.
Midfielder Sam Wadieh is away but Ryan King and Richie Saunders are back for the free-scoring Elms outfit.
Moloney said: “We kept clean sheets against Thame and Reading and it’s better that you win 1-0 rather than trying to outscore the opposition.
“We’re still playing a couple of midfielders at full-back as the likes of Rory Sproule, Darren Smart and Kev Tate haven’t been available.”
The only other side in league action are Purton, who entertain Division One West leaders Shortwood reserves. Malmesbury have no game.
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