Aaron Harper-Penman to be fit for Bideford trip to St Albans
AARON HARPER-PENMAN is expected to be fit for Bideford's trip to St Albans City in the Evo-Stik League Southern this weekend.
The defender was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Arlesey Town on Saturday after undergoing an operation on a broken nose the previous day.
Manager Sean Joyce was reluctant to send him on even though fellow defender Rob Farkins took a knock.
Harper-Penman, one of the team's most reliable players, suffered the injury in a collision during the 7-1 win at Chippenham Town last week.
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"Aaron is a big part of our team and it shows the commitment of the boy that he wanted to play," said Joyce.
"If Rob Farkins had to come off, I wasn't going to put him on.
"He's had another week to put his nose right and he'll be back in for Saturday."
The manager was happy to take a point against Arlesey who looked the more dangerous side despite having a player sent off.
Bideford are ten points clear of the relegation zone in their first season in the premier division.
"That's three games unbeaten and five points from nine," said Joyce.
"We just had to stay in the game as long as we could.
"Their players have been playing in this league, and probably leagues above, a long, long time."
Without Harper-Penman, Bideford were forced to play Nick Barker out of position after making some tactical changes.
"We changed our shape in the second half to 3-5-2," said Joyce.
"We are not blessed with strikers. We have got Ellis Laight, who is a veteran, and Kevin Squire and it was another way of getting Sean Downing further forward.
"I thought Nick Barker came in and did a good job at centre half."
The visit to St Albans is sure to provide a stern test for Bideford as the Hertfordshire club beat Arlesey 3-1 earlier this month.
Bideford are back at the Sports Ground on Tuesday when they host Bedworth United.
The away match against Kettering Town, the bottom team, has been rearranged for Sunday, March 10.