Lippiatt: It's been a great start
COLIN LIPPIATT is asking his players to keep their feet on the ground despite their impressive start to the season.
City opened their Conference account with a memorable 3-1 win away at Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday and followed that up with a goalless draw against Cambridge United on Tuesday, in front of nearly 2,000 fans at Clarence Park.
Tipped for relegation at the start of the season, City are sitting pretty in fourth spot ahead of Saturday's home match with Aldershot Town.
Lippiatt, though, is not getting carried away.
"We have picked up four points from two games and that's a very decent return," said the manager.
"But there is a long, long way to go and we've got to do it over 46 games.
"I would have been happy to get a point at Kiddy and then I thought we might beat Cambridge in front of our crowd.
"We've done it a different way but I'm delighted. We've played two very good sides and there is no doubt this is a better level.
"We are going to have highs and lows and are going to have indifferent periods but we've got to stay focused and we must stay in this league," he added.
"Being a part-time unit we have really got to dig in and work hard for 90 minutes. Anything in between, or if we don't fancy it one week, then we'll come unstuck.
"It's a been a great start though, and we've played well and contributed to two very entertaining games."
The only downside has been the double dismissal of Gary Elphick.
The ex-Brighton centre-half was given his marching orders at Aggborough on Saturday for deliberate handball - a decision later overturned on appeal - but was given an early bath again on Tuesday night after being shown two yellow cards. He will be suspended on Saturday.
"He's got to stay on his feet and learn to jockey," said Lippiatt.
"In the modern game the tackles were two yellows but going back into past times they probably wouldn't have been.
"He's had four red cards in a year but the one against Kiddy was rescinded and the one against Eastleigh last year was a nonsense.
"He's got to learn not to go to ground, though, and got to learn quickly."
Ben Martin was in line to replace Elphick and make his first start since injuring his cruciate knee ligament in July last year.
But the giant central defender has picked up a knock to his knee and he will be assessed tonight (Thursday) at training.
Should he fail a fitness test, Ben Lewis will partner Dave Theobald at the heart of the defence after Lippiatt revealed he has recovered from the shoulder injury he sustained against Sheffield United.
City will need to be at their sharpest defensively on Saturday as Aldershot boast a strikeforce that includes Marcus Gayle, the former Watford and Wimbledon man, and the prolific John Grant.
6:00pm Thursday 17th August 2006