MANAGER Carl Abbott hopes Evesham United will have a leaner, meaner scoring machine in striker Paul Sullivan when they return to BetVictor Southern League Division One South action this weekend.

Sullivan struck twice in Evesham’s 4-3 defeat at Cinderford Town before netting the winner in the 1-0 victory over Willand Rovers this month.

But Abbott admitted the frontman, who signed for Evesham in September, was only “50 per cent” fit.

With no game last weekend Abbott said Sullivan used the extra time to improve his fitness and was now “looking more like himself” ahead of Saturday’s visit to Bideford (3pm).

“He has been playing at 50 per cent fitness,” Abbott said.

“He has made impacts in games when he has either started or come on but between that hour mark and 90 minutes he has not had it in him.

“He has been training every other day with us over the past two weeks and that has given us an opportunity to do some work with him.

“He looks like he has lost half-a-stone and his fitness looks a lot better so we are very hopeful that he will make a big impact.

“We have still managed to get a goal return from him.

“He got two at Cinderford and the winner against Willand but he will be looking more like himself for the 90 minutes on Saturday.”

Abbott previously worked with Sullivan when he was manager at AFC Hinckley.

“I would say that he was maybe the best player I had ever worked with so it is just a case of getting him back to those levels,” Abbott said.

“We spent most of this season playing Chilly (Lee Chilton) and a false nine which worked but wasn’t perfect.

“We took our time to get the lad in that we wanted to sign and hopefully it will pay dividends with Paul.”