IT’S been well documented that Winchester City’s money-spinning FA Cup run was a financial lifeline for the club.

But manager Craig Davis’s one regret is that it has had repercussions on their league campaign.

After a flying start to the Evo-Stik Division One South season, the Citizens find themselves in 12th spot ahead of Saturday’s trip to rock-bottom Barnstaple Town, having battled out successive 1-1 draws with AFC Totton and Highworth Town.

“We needed the FA Cup big-time, but now it’s time to focus on the league,” said Davis.

“I must admit, I feel a bit deflated after two draws. If we’d won one and lost one, we’d be better off point-wise.

“But it’s not been disastrous. We’re only four points off the play-offs with a game or two in hand.

“The league’s very tight, as it always is, and some of the fancied teams, like Bristol Manor Farm and Thatcham, are below us. Yate are top, yet they probably weren’t massively fancied before the season started.”

Barnstaple are propping up the table with just three points but, tellingly, their breakthrough win came in their last game, 4-1 at Paulton Rovers.

City have a doubt over Simba Mlambo (dead leg) and will travel to North Devon without left winger Brett Cunningham, who is away on England Colleges trials.

Youth-wise, things are looking very bright for City with three youngsters – Jack Francis, Sam Tonks and Ethan Dean – all training with the senior squad and five called up for Hampshire.

“We’re flying,” said Davis. “Our reserves/development squad could potentially go top of the Wyvern Premier if they win their games in hand and we’re top of the Hampshire Youth League.”

Meanwhile, former Winchester and Alresford hot-shot Warren Bentley is on the mend after being accidentally struck by a ball in training with Weymouth.

He had a spell in Dorchester Hospital with a head injury, but is now recovering back home with his family.

“As with every head injury, Warren will need a period of time to fully recover and get back to football. We wish him well,” said City’s director of football Dave Malone.

Second-placed Blackfield & Langley must look to get back to winning ways at Bristol Manor Farm on Saturday.

The Watersiders were undone 2-1 at home by Moneyfields last time out – only their second defeat in ten league games.