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Promotion-chasers keep working



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It's business as normal despite the continuing threat of another weekend freeze-out


THE WEATHER remains a threat to this weekend's sporting programme, but the trio of local promotion-chasers can only carry on preparing for games that may not take place.
Hungerford Town are due to entertain play-poff rivals Cinderford while Thatcham go to bottom side Stourport Swifts in the Evo Stik League Southern, and Newbury are at Finchampstead in the Hellenic League's Division One East.
Hungerford manager Bobby Wilkinson is continuing to prepare as normal: "This is the time we have to work and work and we had the full squad of 23 out there this week.
"We spent a full 90 minutes on the pitch on Tuesday, we're on the astro turf on Thursday, and if it's off on Saturday, we'll be training.
"But we'll be working to be right to play the game right up until we hear that it's off."
Wilkinson will have new boy Joe McClellan in his squad, but THATCHAM boss Gary Ackling must wait to see if he can tempt striker Charlie Mpi back to Waterside Park from Beaconsfield SYCOB.
"We are talking this week," he said. "I hear Beaconsfield have a big budget but I think that Charlie would like to come back to us."
Thatcham will go to Stourport desperate for a success to shake off their 10-match streak without victory. "We've forgotten how to win," said Ackling, who is not confident that Saturday's game will go ahead,.
"The forecast isn't good, and I have my doubts that it will go ahead."
Recent postponements mean that Mark Hughes and Scott Rees must still serve out suspensions and Jemel Johnson and Carl Self are also likely to miss out through injury.
Thatcham are also due to be in action on Wednesday night when Clevedon Town are scheduled to visit for their delayed Red Insure League Cup quarter-final tie at Waterside Park.
NEWBURY will have five extra faces in their squad for Saturday's Hellenic League trip to Finchampstead.
Goalkeeper Andy Bayliss - who was already on Newbury's books but who has been playing for Burnham - will be joined by new addition Ben McCready from Lambourn, while left sided player Chris Blackford and striker Marc Green should have completed their mvoes form Hungerford and Thatcham respectively as Newbury gear up for a final promotion-chase.
"To be perfectly honest," said manager Steve Melledew, "I did not go after them, they came to us and said they wanted to join us and you can't turn down players of that quality when they want to join you."



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