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Bartley calls in reinforcements after squad reshuffle
MARLOW manager Mark Bartley has acted swiftly in the past fortnight after deciding the squad that won the Hellenic Premier League title so grandly last season wasn’t cutting it in the Southern League.
Successive defeats to AFC Hayes and St Ives Town followed by last night’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Aylesbury in the Bucks Cup convinced the manager that changes were needed, and this week four players were told they are surplus to requirements.
Two replacements came in last week, two more are expected in the coming days and with three more injured players on the verge of return Bartley expects his squad to get a timely injection of fresh quality.
He said: “When I looked at the season I thought October would be the time I’d make changes if needed. After winning the league, I felt I had to give the same players a chance at a higher level and some have taken that opportunity and some haven’t.
“I think six weeks into the season is long enough to see if they’re able to do it for me and a few haven’t pushed on like I hoped they would.
“They’re tough conversations, but it’s part and parcel of the job and I pride myself on being honest with my players.”
Already in are Jordan Lee-Brown, a left back from Windsor, and versatile forward Jahson Downes, who has come through the Reading academy.
Verbal agreements have also been made with a 20-goal-a-season striker and another attacking player.
Bartley said: “Defensively we’ve looked good and we’ve dominated the middle of the park in most games. I just felt up front we needed to freshen things up a little.”
On that score, Marlow will also be strengthened by the return from injury of Ian Davies, who scored in the midweek cup loss, Michael Bartley and Marcus Mealing.
Bartley said: “They’ll all be fit again at roughly the same time and that will give me a selection headache, but I’m confident that with what we’ve got coming in and coming back, we’ll be fine.”
Davies did miss the sudden death penalty that cost his side against Aylesbury after it had finished 1-1 after 120 minutes and both sides then scored their first five spotkicks.
But his goal in regular time cheered Bartley, who wasn’t overly concerned by an early cup exit.
He said: “I changed the side to look at a few and the result wasn’t all that important.”
The same isn’t true tomorrow or on Tuesday, when points are at stake again as Marlow look to revive their league campaign with home games against Potters Bar and North Greenford United.
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