ROCESTER manager Dave Shaw is calling on his attacking players to “step up to the plate” in the absence of top scorer Dan Brown tomorrow.
Work commitments have ruled out the free-scoring striker for Saturday’s clash with high-flying Highgate United at Hillsfield, kick-off 3pm.
Brown has scored 12 of Rocester’s 26 goals since arriving in December, and in a second blow, Nick Ward is also unavailable for the Highgate game.
“The other lads have got to step up to the plate,” said Shaw. “I look around, and there are goals in the side.
“Dan has been the player who, when there’s a bit of pressure, will always pop up with a goal to win a game – or at least give you a chance.”
Simeon Lawrence and Liam Shaw are now expected to lead the line in the absence of Brown and Ward.
“Liam did well against Tividale,” said the Romans boss. “He’s champing at the bit. That’s what we need when players are left out.
“Before, when lads are starting week in week out, standards dropped a little bit.
“Now they know lads are coming back it’s getting the best out of players.
“Simeon Lawrence has got pace so hopefully that combination will work for us.”
Midfielder Brent Upton is also expected to be back in the squad, while Tom Ellerton could make a surprise early return after an enforced spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Shaw said: “We’ll see how Tom feels, but he works really hard and is always willing to put that bit extra in – that’s why he recovers that little bit quicker.”
Highgate are fifth in the Midland Alliance, and thumped the Romans 5-0 back in October.
The Romans are a much-changed side since then, and Shaw believes tomorrow’s game, on home turf, could yield points.
He said: “They have dropped off a little it in recent weeks. They lost 3-1 at home to Coventry Sphinx on Tuesday night.
“Maybe we can catch them on the hop like we did Tividale and get something out of it – it’s one of them bonus games for us.
“At the end of the day no team is outstanding in this division.
“Why should we not be beating teams like Highgate or Tividale?
“You look at other results and teams we have beaten have beaten the top teams.”