HIGHWORTH Town boss Jeff Roberts believes his side’s rapid development at Southern League level has turned a usually tricky fixture against Bideford into a winnable one.

In the Worthians’ debut campaign, Bideford won a thriller 4-3 at the Save on Tyres Stadium courtesy of an 86th minute goal before stealing all three points at home with an 89th minute strike in a 1-0 victory.

Bideford went on to finish in ninth while Highworth ended the 2018-19 season in 14th.

This term however, Saturday’s hosts are fourth from bottom while Roberts’ young charges are eighth and in encouraging form having lost just one of their previous five.

The Worthians boss is delighted to see how quickly his players have grown accustom to life in the Southern League and is confident of returning from Devon with all three points.

Roberts said: “I think we are confident of keeping things tight at the back this weekend.

“We’re confident of competing against most sides in this division whereas last season we were a bit more sceptical.

“Bideford are quite a big club for this level.

“Last year, I would have been happy with a point, but this year I feel we have a squad which is more than capable of competing.

“We’ve signed winger Ben Lodge from Fairford Town in the week, so that gives us a bit more quality out wide and going forward.

“Injury-wise, we’re looking quite good – the only player who is a doubt is goalkeeper Connor Johns.”

Despite a 1-0 defeat to Thatcham Town last time out, Roberts insisted confidence is still high within the Highworth dressing room ahead of their lengthy trip to Bideford on Saturday.

The three-hour coach journey is set to be broken up in order to give players a chance to stretch their legs before taking to the pitch, and Roberts is not at all concerned about a slow start from his young squad.

He said: “There is a lot of confidence in the camp, it’s a close-knit group and that’s a massive bonus for us.

“Our squad is young, it’s got legs and we’re full of confidence.

“I know we got beat by Chippenham in midweek (Wiltshire Premier Shield), but it was a good test and we did well.

“Bideford is a really difficult place to go and it’s not close either.

“We’ll try and cut the journey in half, just to give the lads a break, but as long as we get there and have a proper warm up then we’ll be fine.”