MELKSHAM Town manager Kieran Baggs is hoping to avoid a repeat of the controversy his side suffered in their 2-0 defeat to Yate Town on New Year’s Day as they look to buck their two-game losing streak in Southern League Division One South at promotion rivals Cirencester Town on Saturday, writes JONATHAN LEIGHFIELD.

Melksham had Neikell Plumber and Chris Allen sent off on Tuesday, but the two will be available for the trip to the Corinium Stadium before their bans kick in.

Cirencester sit in the last of the play-off spots, four points ahead of Melksham, but have played two games more than than the Wiltshire outfit.

Baggs is confident that as long as his side approach the game with fresh minds and forget the controversy of previous outings, they can come away with victory.

He said: “With it being on a 3G surface, it will suit our style of play. Hopefully, with no dramatic incidents, we’ll have a fair crack at trying to upset one of the top teams in the division.

“Our last three games have been Evesham, who are third, Yate, who are top and Cirencester, who are just ahead of us in the last play-off spot.

“That’s three huge games back-to-back and we’ve just got to make sure we turn up and give a really good level of performance and make sure we take something from the game because we’ve got a really tough January.”

Melksham have only scored four goals in five games since top scorer Jonathan Davies dislocated his collarbone against Barnstaple Town in early December.

Baggs was able to welcome the midfielder back into his squad against Yate, but has warned it may take his talisman a few games to rediscover his best form.

He said: “Jon has kept himself fit while he’s been injured, but match fitness is obviously just one of those things that you can only develop playing games.

“I could probably have done with bringing him off after 60 or 70 minutes on Tuesday, but we were down to nine men and with it only being 1-0 until the 90th minute, we had no choice but to leave him on.”

Combining the Yate defeat with a 3-0 loss to Evesham United last Saturday, Melksham have now lost back-to-back league games for the first time all season.

However, Baggs is not concerned and believes a bit of perspective is all that is needed to understand Melksham are still over-achieving.

He said: “Everyone is going to go through tough runs at some point in the season and we haven’t had one for over a year now, so it’s probably just our turn to go through this.”

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down. We’ve had a really good start to life in the Southern League, but we’re faced with two defeats on the bounce, which is new territory for us – but we’ve got to keep ourselves grounded.

“We are newly promoted and every single team from Manchester City down to ourselves are going to suffer a couple of defeats in a row at some point, so it’s nothing to have major concern about.”