RICHIE Crocker reckons Purton’s returning players have given the squad a welcome boost ahead of this weekend’s clash with fourth-placed Tytheringron.

Long-term absentee Marcus Hall came on for 20 minutes of the 3-1 victory over Clanfield on Saturday, and the midfielder came through unscathed.

Leigh Brown is also now back fit, and although Crocker himself is missing this weekend due to a wedding, he believes there is improved competition for places.

“It definitely helps getting players back, Marcus is one of our key players and it’s great to have him,” said Crocker.

“We’ve missed him a lot, he’s a very good player and he’s been a great leader for us as well.

“Leigh Brown is back in the reckoning now as well so we’re getting a few players back, and that’s forcing a few of the lads to up their game a bit.

“We’re midtable at the moment but we’re definitely looking to push on a bit more now, I think we’ve been a bit hard done by lately in not getting anything out of games.

“It’ll be nice for the lads to be at home for once, we’ve been on the road a lot recently, but hopefully in front of a home crowd they can get a result.”

Elsewhere in the division, it’s a big weekend for struggling outfits New College and Malmesbury, who face Carterton and Letcombe respectively. Lambourn make the trip to Hook Norton.