Cirecester Town boss Charlie Griffin described his first league defeat in charge – a 2-1 home reverse to Stratford Town – as having ‘opened his eyes’ about some of his team.
Griffin turned on the dressing room ‘hairdryer’ for the first time in his four-match tenure after the struggling side had, in the manager’s words, “gone down with a whimper” against their Midlands rivals.
The visitors led after 10 minutes thanks to a heavily deflected shot from Jamie Sheldon, but the hardworking Aidan Bennett restored parity with a sharp shot on the turn shortly before the interval.
Instead of kicking on, the hosts conceded again in the 49th minute when Simeon Tulloch volleyed home and Stratford could have run out even more comfortable winners.
“That has really opened my eyes,” said Griffin. “I gave them plenty of credit at Banbury and King’s Lynn but we went down with a whimper tonight and showed no passion.
“Several of them were nowhere near good enough and we told them so. I thought I might need only one more player but now I am looking to bring in two or three ahead of the next two games, against fellow bottom-five clubs, St Ives and Cinderford, which are huge for us.”
Griffin has released striker Lee Smith and defenders Kyle Lapham and James Coates, bringing in young full-backs Kieran Diaz-Benitez (Purton) and Sindri Scheving (loan from Reading). But it was his young centre-back partnership of Alfie Kilgour (Bristol Rovers) and captain Mat Liddiard that for the most part kept things together at the back.
“Alfie’s loan has now run out but I am hoping we can keep him for another period, despite interest from higher league clubs,” said Griffin. “I think my defence is okay but we are lacking firepower up front.
“I have talked to Forest Green boss Mark Cooper about the possibility of Olly Mayhew coming to us on loan, although he is currently at Salisbury.
“Olly is the sort of player we need; he’s direct and has the pace to get in behind defences.
“Both Kaid Mohammed and Stuart Fleetwood are on my radar as well.”