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23rd May, 2022

Bees manager Draper has full confidence in his side

Liam Moakes 2nd Feb, 2017

STUDLEY boss Keith Draper remained upbeat despite seeing the Bees’ recent revival halted by a 5-1 home defeat to high-flying Atherstone Town on Saturday.

The Bees had taken seven points from their previous four Midland League Division One fixtures to move out of the bottom two and within striking distance of three sides above them.

Their progress was stalled as an impressive Atherstone performance lifted the visitors to the top of the table, but Draper took some positives from the game and knows a series of upcoming fixtures against sides around them in the table hold the key for Studley in their mission to seal survival.

“All credit to Atherstone. They put in a really slick performance and looked an impressive outfit, but to be fair to our lads we played pretty well ourselves for close to 40 minutes, only to concede two sloppy goals just before the break which put the game beyond us really,” said Draper.

“We were punished for another error at the start of the second half and it was game over, but the pleasing thing for me was that we did not give up and afterwards I had a group of players who were hurting in that changing room.

“That shows they care and also they believe in their potential, because they felt they could compete against a top drawer outfit at this level.

“Moving forward though, we have 12 league games left and, other than matches against Bromsgrove Sporting and Hinckley, we would consider ourselves to be more than capable of winning any of the others.

“We have Heath Hayes at home on Saturday and then another home match against rock-bottom Southam a week on Saturday and know that six points would almost certainly open a healthy gap between ourselves and the bottom two.

“The other results went our way at the weekend so we didn’t lose ground on the sides we are competing against. Everything is positive here, as we now believe we have a squad capable of competing in every fixture and team spirit is great.

“It’s exciting times for us. We have everything to play for in the league and two cup semi-finals on the horizon, so we could enjoy a very successful end to the campaign.”

Draper, who saw Josh Westwood net a consolation for his side on Saturday, is set to hand a debut to young goalkeeper Brad Carter against Heath Hayes following the teenager’s switch from Alvechurch.

Draper will also be able to call on the services of left back Jake Wicketts, midfielder Matty Dorgan and striker Danny Moy who all missed the Atherstone fixture, whilst he has put in seven days’ notice for highly rated Littleton attacker Connor Perry-Holmes who has been in the goals this season.

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