Hockey: Jenning holds key: Clubs forced to wait for key league players to return from Scotland

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FLIGHTS from Scotland tomorrow morning will be watched with interest by Guildford and Gloucester City as they await the arrival, for crucial PizzaExpress National League games, of key players. Ian Jennings and Jon Roberts must return south after playing in the Scottish Indoor League.

Jennings, Guildford's player- coach and leading goalscorer, will need an early start to for a noon game against Cheltenham. Trailing three points behind Surbiton, who are setting a cracking pace in the Second Division, Guildford cannot afford to drop points.

Gloucester City, newcomers to the National League this season, have found the going tough and are sharing bottom place with Sheffield. Roberts's previous experience with First Division Stourport is vital to their survival attempts.

Hounslow, the First Division leaders who are away to East Grinstead, expect to have the winger Nick Gordon back in their squad after an absence of three weeks but, with the Welsh international David Knapp improving with every outing, it is unlikely Gordon will make the starting line- up.

Grinstead's coach, Andy Barnes, has persevered with his young side and the dividends are coming. With Phil Wallis, the captain, fit again and marshalling the defence and the striker Richard Gibson among the goals it could be a difficult game for the champions.

The second-placed Southgate travel to Stourport, where points are always difficult to collect. Havant, in third place, entertain Cannock, who are level with them on points.

At the bottom, St Albans, who have had a torrid start to the season and desperately need points, entertain Trojans. Drastic measures look necessary if Saints are to stem the flow of goals, beginning with the possible inclusion of Steven Chater in goal at the expense of their captain, Martin Langston.