Royalists hope to be at the races against Ascot
Friendly cancelled ahead of tough run of fixtures for Royalists
Mark Cooper will have been disappointed to see Tuesday’s friendly with Virginia Water called off as he was hoping to use it to sharpen his players up for Saturday’s trip to Ascot United.
Windsor have played only once over the Christmas period, a slightly unconvincing 3-2 win over Virginia Water at Stag Meadow on December 27 and, having noted a little rustiness and lack of sharpness from his players in that game, he was hoping this week’s friendly would prime them for what promises to be a keenly contested clash.
The Yellamen and Royalists have met each other twice already this season, with Ascot claiming a 3-1 win in the county cup and Windsor claiming revenge with a 3-1 home win in the league. The sides are also locked together in the Combined Counties Premier Division North, on 28 points, with Ascot in eighth and Windsor in ninth. The Yellamen, whose form has picked up of late, do also have three matches in hand on Cooper’s men.
“It was important for us to win and get points on the board with Ascot and Hanworth coming up,” said Cooper.
“Yeah, the performance wasn’t our best, but we managed to get the result in spite of that.
“They’re always very tough games against Virginia Water, it’s a local derby and there’s always plenty on it. They might feel hard done by that they didn’t come away with at least a point, but it was testament to the character and resilience of our boys that we managed to win.
“We now have a side that are full of Windsor players. We’ve managed to do that and no longer have to rely on loan players, but now results are starting to follow.”
He added: “We’ve only had one league game in near on a month. One thing that came out of the game with Virginia Water is that there was a lack of sharpness, and I’d felt we’d lost a little fitness because of our lack of games.
“We’ve trained hard for this game (Ascot) but nothing replicates the minutes you get from matches.”
Despite the close nature of the two sides, and the familiarity of the players, Cooper doesn’t expect anyone to overstep the mark or lose their head when the teams meet this weekend.
After Ascot, Windsor will play a series of tough matches against some of the league's leading sides. They'll host leaders Hanworth Villa and Abbey Rangers in January before travelling to Southall on February 12.