AFTER conceding eight goals in their first two Southern League fixtures, Bideford need to tighten up at the back at Hitchin Town tomorrow.
Their cause was not helped in the 6-2 defeat at Cirencester Town on Tuesday as Matt Villis went off with a head injury.
Villis, the former Tiverton Town and Torquay United defender, is a doubt for tomorrow’s game and the Robins will hope Dan Harrison is available after missing the Cirencester trip.
Harrison, signed from Cinderford Town in the summer, has been struggling with a hamstring injury.
Bideford finished the Cirencester game with an unfamiliar defence as winger Ben Wood played at left back and Nick Milton, on his return from holiday, joined Chris McGrath in the centre.
In attack, the Robins were boosted by the return of Sean Downing, starting his first game after missing the opener due a knee injury. Downing scored a late consolation.
“Sean played his first game and looked like he’s finding his pre-season feet,” said Joyce. “The last 15 minutes he looked really sharp.”
Having lost players such as Matt Hockley, Craig Duff, Rob Farkins, Ben Gerring and Owen Howe since last season, Joyce admits it will take time for his new-look team to find their feet.
“The better teams keep their better players and bring in one or two players,” he said. “My better players move on and we have got to start again. It’s a two-year cycle.
“I’m experienced enough to know I’ll get it right.”
Hitchin lost 2-0 at Corby Town in their opening game and responded with a 3-0 win over Banbury United on Tuesday.
Last season Bideford completed the double over Hitchin with Duff scoring the winner in Hertfordshire and Graham Mercieca on target on his home debut at the Sports Ground in December.
Recent results – February 22, 2014: Hitchin Town 0 Bideford 1 (Duff).
December 21, 2013: Bideford 3 Hitchin Town 1 (Mercieca, Duff, Howe).
March 16, 2013: Hitchin Town 1 Bideford 0.
November 3, 2012: Bideford 3 Hitchin 2 (Barker, Downing, Hockley pen).