Joyce Goes for Experience

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Paul Hider is set to be Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South & West club Bideford’s first-choice goalkeeper for their title run-in.

The former Saltash United player was preferred to Grant Fisher for the league game against Halesowen Town last Saturday.

And he made a stunning save in the last minute, allowing Bideford to counter attack and confirm a 2-0 win with a goal from Jamie Mudge.

Bideford manager Sean Joyce has decided to go with a more experienced keeper for key league games.

“He’s been brilliant,” said Joyce. “He talks, he organises.”

Fisher, who joined when Ollie Chenoweth returned to Plymouth Argyle in December, is still registered with the Robins.

“He was outstanding when he came here but in every game his confidence levels were dropping a bit,” said Joyce.

The manager made no apologies for fielding a weakened team as Bideford lost 2-1 to Tiverton Town in the Westinsure Devon St Luke’s Cup on Tuesday.

With a six-point lead at the top of the table, their priority is to secure promotion.

“I don’t want to lose but there are bigger fish to fry,” said Joyce.

“We left seven first-teamers out from Saturday.

“We have got to be realistic with the squad we have got and the games we have got ahead of us. We have got thirteen cup finals.”

Bideford have used the St Luke’s Cup and Red Insure Cup to look at fringe players this season.

“We have treated them for what they are,” said Joyce. “Have we taken them seriously? Yes, to the extent that we want to win.

“We have kept the squad ticking over and given the subs game time.

“I’m disappointed now but in a couple of days I’ll be over it.”

The first of Bideford’s “cup finals” comes at Clevedon Town on Saturday.

Without any more midweek fixtures, they are free to focus on the finishing line in the league.

As they plan for the possibility of promotion, Bideford have announced a new three-year sponsorship deal with Atlantic Village.

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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