AS SHRIVENHAM continue their push for a top-six finish in the Hellenic League Premier Division, co-manager Pete Horwat points to tomorrow's opponents as a perfect example of the way their season could have gone.

Flackwell Heath dominated the league for the first part of the season, but their exit from the FA Vase at the tail end of 2007 saw a downturn in fortunes, and they have failed to record a win since the middle of December.

Shrivvy were knocked out of the same competition in January, and while Horwat admits that could have effectively ended their campaign, he praised everyone at the club for continuing their pursuit for a high-flying finish.

He said: "Flackwell started off like a train and were top for ages, but I think their turning point in the season was getting beaten in the FA Vase.

"Since then they've been on a downward spiral and have found it difficult to get points.

"I don't know the ins and outs of what has happened there, but I can't believe a club who was top for a third of the season can suddenly lose form so spectacularly without having budget cuts or their best players leaving.

"However, we've still got to go there and make sure we are on our game as there's no easy game in this league.

"We take some good league form into the game and will be looking to get as much as we can from it.

"Alan Dyton coming back into the club has been great and has stabilised the defensive side of the game.

"We're more difficult to get through now, and even though we still concede the odd stupid goal, we're a lot better back there."

Matty Bennett (calf) and Scott Lane (hamstring) are both doubtful, while Russell Byrne is on holiday.

But Shrivvy are boosted by the return of striker Steve Avenell (pictured) after a six-month absence with an ankle complaint.

"It's massive to have him back," admitted Horwat.

"At the start of the season he was scoring goals and was a real handful for defenders.

"It's all about building his fitness up ready for next season, but we'll be looking to get something out of him before the end of the season."

Elsewhere, Highworth Town boss Dave Webb is hoping to use two home games to their advantage, as he targets a minimum of four points from the Easter weekend.

Currently on a three-game unbeaten run, Highworth entertain bottom side AFC Wallingford tomorrow before Witney United come calling on Monday.

Webb admitted: "It's nice to have a couple of home games back to back in a short space of time.

"If we can go through the weekend unbeaten, it would be great, but we're at home and have to go for two wins.

"We've shown we can beat the best sides and we'll have to put in two proper performances to get anything out of the games."

Meanwhile, John Paget's Fairford Town will be hoping to record successive victories as they take on fellow strugglers Carterton at home.

  • PURTON boss Chris Pethick is aiming for a hat-trick of table-topping victories as his team play host to leaders Old Woodstock Town.

Their opponents are currently three points clear at the summit of the Hellenic League Division One West, and were 5-0 winners over Purton when the sides met earlier in the campaign.

But while Old Woodstock may look like an intimidating test on paper, Pethick can point to wins against Easington Sports and Letcombe while they both looked down on the rest of the division.

He admitted: "We seem to be able to beat the teams who are top of the league, but I just wish we could put in those sort of performances every week.

"We always approach games thinking we can win them, regardless of who we're playing.

"They are top of the league and it certainly won't be an easy one. They beat us 5-0 but it wasn't a 5-0 performance.

"It was a lot closer than that and when we went three down we could have just as easily been 4-2 up.

"It was a very open game and I expect another similar sort of match. Both teams play good football and there will be plenty of chances created."

In other games, Wootton Bassett are at home against Cheltenham Saracens, Cricklade Town play Letcombe, Malmesbury Vics are away at Clanfield, and Cirencester United travel to Easington Sports.