Non-league: Stocksbridge Park Steels looking to continue FA Trophy trend
Stocksbridge Park Steels are looking to continue their impressive record in the FA Trophy as they kick off their campaign this weekend.
Steels host Division One North side Atherton Collieries in the preliminary round of the competition on Saturday and will be hoping to reach the first round proper for the third consecutive season.
“We’ve done really well in this competition, having enjoyed good runs over the last two seasons, reaching the first round on both occasions,” Stocksbridge boss Chris Hilton.
“We want to try and beat that if we can, particularly as we went out of the FA Cup early.
“Of course, a good run also helps the club financially, which keeps the chairman happy.
“Atherton are at the same level as us in the pyramid so we’ll need to be at it from the start and make sure we’re on the front foot.
“If there’s a replay it’ll be on Monday and we certainly don’t want that so we’ll be trying to make sure we get the job done at our place.”
Alex Wiles (pictured) could return to Steels after missing the last three games through injury.
Sheffield FC host Evo-Stik Premier Division side Frickley Athletic in their preliminary round tie.
Club will be hoping for better than their meeting with the Blues in September when they let slip a 2-0 lead to lose 4-3 in the league.
But they head into the second meeting in much better shape, having picked up four points from two games since the return of Mark Shaw as manager.
“It’s been really uplifting,” Shaw said. “The players have taken on board what we have said to them and I have to say they’ve worked really hard and shown they care about the club.
“It will take a little time to get the team playing the Mark Shaw was so really I can’t grumble at four points from six.”
Shaw insists the pressure is not on his side when they welcome Frickley this weekend.
He said: “It’s a bit of a free hit for me.
“The players can go out and express themselves and show what they can do.
“If we get through then I’ll be delighted, but if we don’t I won’t be as upet as I would had it been a league game and we’d lost three point.
“Frickley are a very strong, physical side that like to put teams under pressure so we know it will be tough.”
Club followed up a 2-2 draw at Romulus with a 3-2 win over Lincoln United in midweek.
And Shaw believed his side should have picked up maximum points.
“In all fairness, it should have been two wins from two. I thought against Romulus we had much the better chances even though we were down to ten men.
“Lincoln are a good, organised side so we did well to come from behind to beat them.”