Stocksbridge Park Steels take on Vanarama Nation League North Stalybridge Celtic in the FA Trophy in one of the biggest games in years at Bracken Moor.
Steels reached the fourth qualifying round for the first time in their history last season and boss Chris Hilton feels his side are capable of repeating the feat for a second successive year. “A lot of people didn’t think we could do it two seasons in a row, but we thought why not let’s give it a go again.
“We’ve done well to reach the third qualifying round as we’ve not exactly had the easiest of draws and we now want to make it to the fourth round and beyond. Confidence is high, we’ve just come off the back off an excellent result at Spalding.
“We know we’re capable of getting the right result. There’s one thing for sure wont be parking the bus; that’s not the way we play.”
Hilton knows it will be a tough test for his side. “They’re two divisions above us so that tells you they should have more experience and better players. It is going to be a hard game and we’ll have to perform at our best and hope that those little bits of luck you need. But these are games that players want to be part of to test themselves against higher league opponents.”
Hilton was delighted that his side had bounced back from back-to-back league defeats to beat high riding Spalding in the last outing.
“We deserved to win to be honest we were the better team. We were in control at 2-0 up at the interval but then conceded a goal inside the first minute of the second half. It knocked the stuffing out of us for a few minutes but we’ve regrouped and got the third and to be fair could have had a couple more before they’ve got one back in stoppage time.
“The performances have been there but we’ve just not been turning them into results. I think with our performances we should perhaps have had another eight points. But we’ve played each one of the top four sides and taken 10 points from 12 so you have to be happy with that.”
Steels expect striker Joe Lumsden and skipper Liam McFadyen to have shaken off knocks. Midfielder Ashley Burbeary is unavailable.
Sheffield FC are in league action hosting Kidsgrove Athletic where three-points could see James Colliver’s side climb into the top six.
Club stretched their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-0 league cup victory at Romulus on Monday. Colliver saiid: “We were late getting there due to flooding. The players got changed on the bus while we did the team talk. It wasn’t ideal preparation but the lads just got on with it. To come away with a win from a ground where we have never won before was a credit to everyone.
“I always believed in the players even when we were going through a tough spell” said the Sheffield boss.
“We’re not the finished article and I still think we need to increase the depth of the squad to cover for injuries or suspensions.”
With Sheffield’s next three games against teams in the bottom six Colliver feels they have an opportunity to push higher up the table.
“Nine points from the next three games would certainly see us in the top five. Its what we’ll aim to do but it wont be any easier just because teams are in the bottom half of the table.
“What we don’t want to do is put any unnecessary pressure on the players. We’ll go out to try and win each and every game as we always do and see where that takes us.”
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round: Matlock Town v FC Halifax Town, Shaw Lane AFC v Nantwich Town, Stocksbridge Park Steels v Stalybridge Celtic
Premier Division: Buxton v Rushall Olympic, Halesowen Town v Frickley Athletic.
Division One South: Sheffield FC v Kidsgrove Athletic.