BRENDAN Kelly envisages a number of changes to his Bromsgrove Sporting team when the Rouslers head to Redditch United in Saturday’s crunch derby clash (3pm).
Last weekend’s 4-1 defeat to Barwell – who fired three goals without reply in the second half – was the latest humbling at the Victoria Ground, raising further questions over Sporting’s stumbling home form.
While Leon Broadhurst was on hand to head home a close-range equaliser minutes after Tristan Dunkley had put the visiting Canaries in front, persistent poor defending led to a second-half downfall with Kai Williams, Brady Hickey and Omotolani Omotola putting Bromsgrove to the sword.
Kelly, who has been left bewildered by the Rouslers’ downturn in fortunes on home soil this season, has challenged his chosen starting XI for this weekend’s trip to The Trico Stadium to prove their worth.
“Some of the lads who played last weekend won’t get the chance on Saturday,” said the Sporting manager. “It’s important that the lads who do come in make the most of it.
“I can imagine more than one or two changes will be made, maybe as many as five if I need to.
“As a team collectively, we must get back to basics. It’s great scoring all of those goals this season but to have been lacking in concentration the way that we have recently is a concern.”
In a call to arms to the Bromsgrove faithful, Kelly has asked the club’s fans to back his side to the hilt once again to give Sporting an advantage on away soil.
“The majority of our fans have been fantastic and have always been there home and away to back us,” he added.
“If you asked any of our fans before the season started if they’d have taken us being fourth with ten games to go, everyone would take it. We still need to remember what an achievement it has been for us.
“I have no doubt they will be there in their numbers yet again this weekend and in the games that remain.”
It was a derby day demolition the last time that the two sides met in January’s midweek clash at the Victoria Ground, with Bromsgrove 7-1 victors over their local rivals in a memorable first competitive clash since Sporting’s rebirth.
That day, two from Will Shorrock and Richard Gregory, plus strikes from Greg Mills, Mikey Taylor and Shaquille McDonald, handed a humiliating loss to the struggling Reds – who remain rock-bottom.
While Redditch’s struggles have continued since then, the club finally put an end to their 25-match losing streak by beating Nuneaton Borough in late February, with Kelly fully aware of their rivals’ current fortunes.
He said: “They’ve had an improvement in their games recently, putting an end to that losing run and only being defeated by the odd goal.
“It’ll be a much different game this time around, but we’ll be ready for that challenge. We can’t look at what they’re doing and must continue focusing on ourselves instead.
“I think we’ve missed not just Mikey [Taylor], but also Jak Hickman too. Thankfully with the number of games postponed recently, we’ve only missed the pair for two or three games at most so far.”
An update on the availability on the injured pair, Sporting’s only worries on that front, looks positive and provides a welcome boost to the Rouslers ahead of the end-of-season run-in.
The club have signed Hickman on a permanent deal from League One side Coventry City, while Taylor is back in training and is targetting a return for Tuesday’s trip to Hednesford Town (7.45pm).
Kelly has also hinted that another midfielder is close to signing, subject to league ratification.