MALVERN Town boss Les Jones has labelled this weekend’s West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division clash against new boys Hereford Lads Club as a ‘must win’.
The Hillsiders welcome last season’s Division One champions to the HDAnywhere Community Stadium on Saturday hoping to right the wrongs from their 6-2 defeat at Ellesmere Rangers.
Sean Smith, Josh Weatherby and Jamie Smith are to return to the Malvern squad for the local derby but Jones will be without Bryan Craven, Jake Willcox and Luke Molloy.
“We have to win this weekend,” said Jones. “We have got four away games after our Hereford clash so it’s important we get back to winning ways.
“Lads Club have got goals in them so it will be a very tough game for us but it’s one we must win.
“We need to put the defeat to Ellesmere quickly behind us and get the right result this weekend.”
Matt Fusco had given Malvern the lead at Ellesmere inside the first minute on Saturday before Matt Hardiman levelled ten minutes later.
But Adam Sauntson nosed the visitors into a 2-1 half-time lead when he headed home from Louis Loader’s free-kick.
Four minutes into the second half Liam Armstrong drew the Meresides level once again before Hardiman put the hosts in front by the hour mark.
Connor Hughes made it 4-2 while Hardiman then bagged a late double to complete the rout for Ellesmere.
“Ellesmere deserved the win as they came out the second half all guns blazing,” Jones said.
“Hopefully this was just a blip but there’s no doubting Ellesmere are a good side who now sit third in the table.
“Ellesmere are not the kind of team you turn up to thinking you’re going to roll them over.”
With league leaders Wolverhampton Sporting Community seeing their ten-game winning run brought to an end by Tividale at the weekend, Jones admitted there was a missed chance to close the gap at the top.
However, he added the league is so competitive that there will not be a runaway champion this year.
“Everyone is capable of beating anyone so this year is going to be more open than last season.”