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Cottesmore AFC face Ellistown in the Leicestershire Senior League

Manager John Rawdon insists his Cottesmore side are ready to bounce back after three successive defeats.

The Rutland side entertain high-flying Ellistown at Westray Park on Saturday in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division.

They go into the match after suffering a hat-trick of losses following a six-match unbeaten league run.

Cottesmore crashed out of the Everards Tiger League Cup after a 6-0 away defeat at a strong Aylestone Park Reserves side.

That was followed by a 7-1 Premier Division defeat at Hathern last weekend before Cottesmore were beaten 3-0 by Highfield Rangers on Saturday.

Rawdon said: "We've got what we've deserved in the last three games and there's no stepping around it because we haven't played well.

"We haven't defended well but likewise we haven't created a great deal either.

"We've had three bad games on the bounce where we haven't performed to our levels and the other teams have punished us.

"There's certainly no excuses because we know that we haven't been good enough, but the lads have acknowledged that and the attitude has still been good and positive.

"There hasn't been any negativity. We will pick ourselves up and get ourselves back on it which is good."

Cottesmore had started brightly against in-form Highfield on Saturday and had battled well throughout the first half before conceding a poor goal in the latter stages of the opening period.

They had again shown plenty of promise at the start of the second half but were again punished for giving the ball away cheaply which allowed Highfield to double their lead.

The hosts then took control of the contest and added a third goal to leave Cottesmore 10th in the 16-team division.

Rawdon added: "It's been indicative of the three games where we've been on top and looked threatening but we then make a mistake through a little bit of naivety and we get punished for it.

"It is something that the squad needs to learn because if they make those sorts of mistakes then they will get punished.

"It's hard for myself as a manager when we've worked so hard to get back in games then something happens which effectively takes it away from us."

Injuries and availability have hit Cottesmore in recent weeks but it has allowed some of the younger players to step up to the mark with Brogan Woodham particularly impressive in the last couple of games.

Rawdon said: "I don't like to mask over bad performances at all but there are positives in there and Brogan is one of those because he has done really well.

"We've shown glimpses in the games that we're not a bad team but we have to put it right in the next match.

"We know Ellistown are right up there challenging but I'm pleased that we're playing a good side.

"We're back at home which will do us one favour and we've got to play well on Saturday otherwise we will get beaten if we're not right.

"I want to win the game but it's also about the performance and the reaction. It's all about the lads going out and doing things properly because ultimately, if we play the way which we can, then we can win the game."

Rawdon is still hopeful that Cottesmore can achieve his target of a top five finish in his first season at the helm.

They are currently 10 points adrift of fifth-placed Sileby Town but have games in hand on a number of sides above them in the league table.

The manager added: "The few games have been disappointing because we've worked so hard to get in a position where we were just outside that top group.

"We were in absolute control to get in that top five and we've now got to put a good run together to achieve that and get us back to where we want to be.

"It is still the target and, although I acknowledge it is going to be hard now, it will remain the aim. We've got a really good squad with depth but it's just that consistency with availability.

"Even when you've been beaten, I want the same players back because I want them to go out and prove a point whereas, if some are missing the following week, you have to change it and lose that momentum either way.

"Hopefully if that improves a little bit then we can take a step forward."

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