Bulley looks ahead to next season at Barum
Manager Tom Bulley admitted Barnstaple Town's hopes of avoiding relegation are over after a 3-1 defeat at Bridport on Tuesday night.
Following the 1-0 loss to Winterbourne United last Saturday, it was a second setback in three days for Barum against fellow strugglers in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division.
Sixteen points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, they are not going to stage a great escape. Bulley, who took over in December, is now planning for 2013-14 and life in the First Division. He said: "When I came in, I was hoping to keep the club up. I think we know where we are now.
"With the team I have inherited, maybe the quality isn't there. It's down to me to look at the players I have got and strengthen for next year."
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Two goals by Ben Clarke and one for Ryan Dovell saw Bridport race to a 3-0 lead by half time. Ollie Knowles went closest for Barnstaple when his chip had to be cleared off the line. In a much-improved second half, the visitors pulled one back when a cross from Ross Jones produced an own goal from Matt Condliffe.
Lewis Goss, starting after stepping up from the under-18s, had a promising game. Now Bulley is committed to building a team around young players for next season.
"I have pretty much got Barnstaple on my mind 24-7," said Bulley, whose side entertain Wells City today. "Myself and [chairman] Warren Crossley have got a lot of work to do in the off-season to put things in place for next year.
Willand Rovers manager Clive Jones has urged his side to focus on their own game after admitting he knows relatively little about today's opponents, Winterbourne.
Willand registered a superb 2-1 win at home to high-flying Brislington on Tuesday, thanks to goals from Owen Howe and Lloyd Beech.
Along with last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Bishop Sutton, Jones hopes his side can focus enough on their own performance to win.
"I don't really know much about Winterbourne – they are a new side to the division and I haven't seen them before," said Jones, who will be without the suspended Scott Rogers.
"Looking at their results, they either seem to win comfortably or lose heavily so I don't know what to expect."
Buckland Athletic, who had a 4-2 home win over Wells on Wednesday, go to Odd Down today while Ilfracombe Town are also their travels, at Gillingham Town. In the First Division, Elmore's farewell tour of the Western League continues at Calne Town.