Burke spoilt for choice as Canaries go from strength to strength

PUBLISHED: 14:23 30 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:34 30 November 2016

Josh Bickerstaff heads home Hitchin's third in the 3-0 win over Hayes and Yeading. Photo: Peter Else

Josh Bickerstaff heads home Hitchin's third in the 3-0 win over Hayes and Yeading. Photo: Peter Else

else.p@ntlworld.com

Mark Burke says he hasn’t yet decided who will lead the line for Hitchin Town in their big game at league leaders Leamington this weekend.

While Brett Donnelly was given a break for Monday’s game at home to Hayes and Yeading Liam Brooks, who had played alongside Donnelly two days before at Burgess Hill, was handed the chance to lead the line.

He made the most of his opportunity to impress, too, with the opening goal in a man-of-the-match performance during the 3-0 victory.

Burke also rested goalkeeper Michael Johnson with Luton Town younger Liam Gooch coming in to keep a clean sheet, and the Canaries boss believes it is important to rest players when he can with the club about to hit the halfway mark of their Southern Premier campaign.

Speaking about his strikers first, Burke told the Comet: “We could start with both [Donnelly and Brooks], you never know. We’ll train on Thursday night and we’ll see how it is.

“I thought Liam was excellent and did a full 90 minutes and I think his goal got him through with that adrenaline kicking in. I was really pleased with his performance. He has been waiting in the wings and his attitude has been great.

“With Brett he’s 34 now and I thought with two games in a short period and with it being a cold, cold night...we’ve got this big game on Saturday as well.

“I’ve had a few chats with the boys and they’re buying into [squad rotation]. We have a good squad and only 11 starting places so everybody isn’t able to play.

“Because we have a big squad we can have a mini rotation so on Saturday Callum [Donnelly] and [Matt] Lench dropped out. On Monday it was Brett and [Johnson]. It helps to keep things fresh and protects players from burnout.

“Michael didn’t do anything wrong on Saturday like Gooch didn’t do anything wrong in the games he’s played for us. We have two goalkeepers in form.

“Michael though has had a calf strain and a quick succession of games could have brought it back on. Rather than risk it I wanted to protect him and give him a bit longer.

“We’re nearing the halfway point now and then once there it’s the home straight. There’s a lot of football still to be played and we have got to manage the players.”

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