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Bishops Cleeve’s Lewis Clayton eyes up promotion playoff place – “We’ve proven that we can do it. But we’ve just got to back it up each week”

This current Bishop’s Cleeve side is arguably the best in the team’s history, running away to their highest ever Southern League Division One finish last season.

Despite changes in leadership with the former captain departing, the tier 8 side is continuing to rise, reaching the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy for the first time this season, as well as fighting for a playoff spot.

All of this was achieved with significant change of leadership on the pitch as former captain Archie Haskayne departed to Australia, it was Ross Langworthy and Lewis Clayton that took over the leadership roles as captain and vice captain respectively.

Ross Langworthy (Left) and Lewis Clayton (Right) after Langworthy scored a late equaliser

Clayton commented on this change of leadership when reflecting on the season so far and how the dynamics work in the changing room.

“Ross is a good leader and stuff. I like to see myself as a bit of a character in the changing rooms as well. So I try and help the boys as much as I can on and off the pitch,” continuing later, “you’ve just got to adapt and you’ve just got to look at the new surroundings, new personnel and try and make it work.”

Although Haskayne’s departure meant a lot more for the goalkeeper, “It’s obviously weird without Arch because Arch, although he was our centre-mid, he was one of my best mates at Cleeve. So it’s been weird without him.”

Haskayne playing in his last season for the Mitres

Despite the changes the Mitres sit sixth after a 2-1 win at the weekend, Clayton speaks on what’s limiting the potential of the team thus far: “I think we play one game, we’re superb and then the next game we kind of fall off it and then a reaction to a poor performance is with a good performance. We just need to find that level of consistency to go through the league because you will pick up, I know you won’t go through all the games in a season playing poorly.”

The vice-captain says the side need to understand that they can “grind a result out rather than getting three, four, five put past us, heads looking at the ground and wondering what we could have done better.”

He sets high expectations on his side because “we’ve proven that we can do it. But we’ve just got to back it up each week and not get too ahead of ourselves.”

Clayton makes a diving stop

As with most keepers, Clayton tracks his performances through the clean sheets he keeps, and has set himself a specific goal for the rest of the season: “As a little goal for myself, I’d like to get four in a row, that would be quite good. I think we had three in a row last year, which was good, so try and beat that.”

That being said, Clayton did go through a period between the end of August last year, into early January where he didn’t keep a single clean sheet, before going on that run of three games he spoke about.

Clayton excels with his distribution at times, even picking up an assist last season, and although he’d like to get another one this season, he has to have words with his captain first.

“I hope Ross reads this interview because he missed a bit of a sitter a couple of games ago. I think it was Yate. I had a ball out of my hands and luckily cleared the back four, and he ran onto it and he made a right meal of it. So I am trying, but I just need that bit of luck to go my way at the other end of the pitch.”

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