EYNESBURY Rovers must learn to deal with the pressure that comes with being one of the favourites for the UCL Division One title, according to manager Matt Plumb.

UCL Division One

Eynesbury Rovers 3

Northampton ON Chenecks 1

EYNESBURY Rovers must learn to deal with the pressure that comes with being one of the favourites for the UCL Division One title, according to manager Matt Plumb.

Rovers got off to a winning start on Saturday, but found it difficult to break down ON Chenecks at times as the Northampton team set out to frustrate.

Plumb said his team can expect many other teams to adopt similar tactics when they visit Hall Road this season.

“That’s going to come with the territory for us this season, because we can’t surprise teams now.

“People are expecting us to be a good team, and that brings pressure in itself. We can’t surprise anyone any more, and we must expect teams to come and shut up shop against us.

“I hope the players are feeling the expectation, because it should spur them on.

“Chenecks put five across midfield against us, and I expect other teams will try to do the same, to try to frustrate us.”

Ross West opened the scoring on Saturday, before Chenecks pegged them back. Goals from Craig Lanham and Adam Boothby tied up the win in the second half, though Nick Gibson’s dismissal after 70 minutes added a sour note.

With eight first-team squad players out at the moment, Plumb wants to ensure his team remain in contention until November, when he expects his squad to be back at full strength.

However, Rovers will be tested by a tough series of matches over the coming weeks, starting at Hall Road on Saturday against Huntingdon Town, who lost 1-0 to Rushden and Higham in their first game.

“It’s not the easiest start to be honest,” said Plumb. “We’ve got games coming up against sides I expect to be competing near the top come the end of the season: Huntingdon Town, Sileby Rangers, Thrapston Town, Kempston Rovers. If we can keep pace until we’ve got our players back then I’ll be happy.”

Despite the tough fixture list, Plumb promised that his team would not change their attacking philosophy from last season, though he hoped they could shore up their defence.

“We’ll give it a real good go against everyone we face, even if they come to defend.

“But we need to be tighter in defence ourselves, and less naïve. We’re an attacking team and we score plenty of goals, but we can’t concede 40-odd goals in a season again. That’s where we came unstuck last year.

“We need to start winning games 2-0 and 3-1, not putting pressure on ourselves to win 4-3 every week.”