HELLENIC LEAGUE: Bassett boss claims Highworth are not title material

Swindon Advertiser: Jeff Roberts Jeff Roberts

WOOTTON Bassett manager Jeff Roberts has stoked the fires ahead of this weekend’s derby trip to the Elms by insisting that Highworth cannot win the Hellenic League Premier Division title.

Highworth are just six points behind table-toppers Ardley with the season at its halfway point, but Roberts says that John Fisher’s men will not finish top of the pile come the end of the season.

“I don’t think they are title contenders, there are better sides there to win it,” said Roberts.

“I’ve watched Highworth a couple of times over the last couple of months and consistency-wise they are there, but personally I wouldn’t say they are one of the better sides.

“Ardley are quite well-organised, Wantage are paying a lot of money and the team that has surprised me is Ascot. I also think Binfield are one of the better sides in the league so I’m quite surprised they aren’t up there.

“If you had offered John top-four or top-six at the start of the season then I think he would have been happy with it.

“They will fight on but I just think there’s better sides in there to win the league.”

Highworth boss Fisher hit back by stating that Highworth had a greater chance of topping the standings come the end of the campaign than Bassett had of reaching Roberts’ pre-season target of top six.

“Let’s be fair, we’ve got more chance of winning the league than they have,” said Fisher.

“He (Roberts) said they were going to finish top six and they have got no chance of doing that. We’re more likely to win the league than they are to finish top-six.

“I’m not disputing the fact that they have got some good players, there’s no two ways about that.

“With the players I’ve got I’d have thought they would end up midtable and maybe if they had had a better start then they would be top eight.

“I think they will at least finish halfway because they have got too much quality, but that’s up to them. I’d certainly rather be in my position.”

In player news, Highworth are without suspended duo Brad Clark and Liam Williams, while Bassett defender Shaun Carter is rated 50-50 and striker Sam Collier is on holiday.

Roberts added: “Local derbies aren’t what they used to be years ago when they had an edge about them and everyone used to kick everybody.

“We played Highworth early on in the season and I thought we were a bit unlucky (Bassett lost 2-1), and we will give them a good game again.

“It’s a matter of who wants it more on the day and I would be happy with a draw.”

Shrivenham are not in action this weekend.

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