Royalists will be without 'key man' for Abbey Rangers test

Mark Cooper

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Windsor FC will be without one of their key men, Luke Paris, for next week’s home game with Abbey Rangers after the player saw red on the stroke of full-time on Saturday.

Having been booked in the first half by referee Fadi Mansour, Paris received a second yellow card for what his manager Mark Cooper called a ‘clumsy and tired’ challenge in the final minute of extra time as the Royalists lost 3-1 to Hanworth Villa.

The player will now serve a one-match ban and, while Cooper is frustrated to lose an integral member of the squad ahead of a tough match with Abbey, he now has a bigger pool of players from which to select his replacement.

“It was pretty much the last kick of the game when Luke was sent off for a second yellow. It was a clumsy and tired challenge.” said Cooper. “I’m aggrieved because the referee should have just blown the whistle after the foul, finish it at that, use his common sense, and we don’t lose a key man for a game.

“He picked up the first yellow in an incident where they (Hanworth Villa) should have also had one sent off for a clear elbow.

“But fortunately, we are in a position now where there is good competition for places.

“There is also a real togetherness. The boys have been together for a good amount of time now and they’re enjoying that.

“We had quite a long period where we were reliant on loan players for one reason or another. Now, everyone we’ve got is very much part of the squad and the boys are in a good place.

“The problem is that we’ve got no game on Saturday and we’ve only played two games in five weeks. We’ve now got another two weeks off, so to try and get any momentum is going to be difficult.”

Cooper hopes he’ll be able to fix up a friendly or two before the side’s game with Abbey Rangers next weekend (January 29), however, finding opponents as well as a venue to play could prove difficult.

“The difficulty is that we can’t get on our pitch because Virginia Water are at home tomorrow night (Tuesday) and on Saturday,” he said. “A lot of teams also have competitive fixtures on Saturday so trying to find another side with a free weekend is extremely difficult. It looks like we could be stuck in training for the meanwhile before we get another game in. It’s against Abbey Rangers too so it’s not ideal but that’s the situation we’re faced with.”

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