MELKSHAM Town manager Kieran Baggs believes he may be forced to set his team up in a more defensive manner after receiving news that star player Jonathan Davies could be out for up to six weeks with a dislocated collarbone, writes JONATHAN LEIGHFIELD.

Davies suffered the injury in Melksham’s 3-0 win at home to Barnstaple Town in Southern League Division One South last Saturday after scoring two of the goals himself.

Baggs was given a glimpse of what life would be like without his side’s top scorer in Tuesday’s Wiltshire Senior Cup exit to Swindon Supermarine, a game in which Town seemed to lack control in midfield before collapsing to a 4-1 defeat.

The Melksham manager has called on the rest of his players to step up to the plate, although in the absence of a natural goal-scoring midfielder, Baggs thinks his side will be forced to defend more resolutely as they rely on clean sheets to pick up results.

Baggs said: “We might have to be a bit more robust in our set-up and grind games out because we’re not going to score two or three goals in every game without Jon in the side.

“Everyone who looks at the team sheet and sees Jon isn’t playing, it immediately gives them an extra edge, so the rest of the boys need to realise that and make sure we turn up to every game and work even harder to dig out results.

“We need to make sure that some of the other boys are chipping in with some goals too.

“Neikell Plumber has been a threat up front all season and he’s chipped in with some really important goals, so he’ll be looking to spearhead the attack going forward.

“We’ve also got people like Reece Rusher, Rob Hobbs and Brad Norris, who are all important players for us, so if those guys can step up and be counted, like they have been doing, then we should be able to manage without Jon for the time he’s out.”

Melksham’s first league game without Davies will be away to Thatcham Town on Saturday and Baggs says the Berkshire outfit will be hungry for revenge after going down 2-1 when the two sides last met in the FA Trophy a month ago.

He said: “Nobody is going to go to Thatcham and have an easy ride.

“They’ve been struggling a little bit recently, but they had a great win down at Biddeford at the weekend, so they’ll be full of confidence now.

“The pitch isn’t what we’re used to at home. Obviously we can get the ball down and play there, so it’s going to have to be a completely different performance down at Thatcham.

“However, it’s one that we’re going to have to learn to do because there are plenty of places in this division where we’ll have to scrap for a result.”