Smith hopes Studley can dent Sporting’s title tilt

First published in Sport

PAUL Smith is hoping Studley rise to the occasion when they tackle red hot Bromsgrove Sporting at the Victoria Ground fortress.

Sporting are the Midland Combination Premier’s most in-form team. The second-placed side have not lost in the league since December and scored 52 goals in a nine-game winning streak.

But Smith believes playing on the impressive pitch at the Victoria Ground may just play into the Bees’ hands.

“It’s going to be a very tough match because Sporting’s form is excellent at the moment,” said Smith.

“We’ve had problems with our own pitch, but the surface at the Victoria Ground is much better and we can get the ball down and play.

“We’ve got nothing to play for, but this is the sort of game we look forward to.”

Studley hope to welcome back Simon Volante, Charisma Agbonlahor, Jamie Bailey and midfielder James Turk for the weekend trip.

But midfielder James Blake will miss the rest of the season after he collapsed on the pitch for a second time this season during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Bolehall Swifts last Saturday.

The former Evesham player had already suffered a collapse six weeks ago against Coventry Copsewood, but was given the all-clear by doctors after spending several weeks in hospital.

However, he suffered a recurrence of the same problem and has returned to hospital for more tests to try and uncover the cause.

Smith said: “I think the doctors were going to put James through a running test on a treadmill to see if the problem occurs again.

“He had got the ball clear, so it was a shock to see him go down again.

“He’s going to be out for the rest of the season, but the priority is his health.

“The lads had to battle hard after that shock and cope with our awful pitch. It was a battling display.”

The Bees had fallen behind to Christopher Sturridge-Packer’s effort before Danny Carter bagged a leveller.

Studley have struggled for wins in recent weeks and have drawn four of their last five matches. They were held to a 0-0 draw against Coventry Copsewood last Tuesday.

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