HIGHWORTH Town boss Jeff Roberts has backed his side to respond positively from their heart-breaking defeat against Cirencester Town in Southern League Division One South when taking on newly-promoted Willand Rovers this weekend.

The Worthians conceded in the 89th minute on Bank Holiday Monday as they went down 1-0 to one of the title favourites, but they have the chance to bounce back against a side that recorded 95 points on their way to the Toolstation League Premier Division title last term.

Yet, while Highworth have only won once in their opening trio of league fixtures, Willand have lost all of theirs, and both sides will be keen to start securing better results sooner rather than later.

Town boss Roberts has sympathy for what Willand are going through on their arrival into the Southern League, but insists his side will not be giving out any lifelines when they arrive in Devon on Saturday.

Roberts said: “From what I know about them, they’re quite a big, physical and direct side, but since they’ve come up, things haven’t really gone their way.

“It will take a bit of time for them to adjust, no different to ourselves when we got promoted, but I think they’ll be alright.

“They’re quite a strong, physical side, and we’ll have to adapt to that.

“I thought we chose the right formation on Monday, but we have to adapt to a different kind of opposition on Saturday and possibly start with different players to make sure we get the win down in Devon.”

Highworth kicked off their debut season in the Southern League last term with a string of positive results, but tailed off as injuries took hold and stark lessons were forced upon them.

Roberts feels his side are in a much better position to progress this time around and is excited by what lies ahead.

He said: “It always takes a bit of time to stabilise a side. We’re still tweaking around with little things in areas where we feel we still need to strengthen up.

“It’s a case of trying to keep a squad of 18 players together and happy – not that we’ll keep them all happy week in, week out – but I think this year is a great opportunity for us to try out a few more things and bring players on who are going to change the game.

“It’s just a case of getting used to the style of play at this level of football, but I don’t think we’ve started too badly if you look at who we’ve played so far.

“As long as we keep concentrating for 90 minutes, we are more than capable of picking up wins.”