Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield FC head out on the FA Cup trail this weekend in the Preliminary Round with Steels hosting Evo-Stik North side Bamber Bridge, while Club are at Midlands Football League outfit Basford United.
Chris Hilton says it’s a big test for his Stocksbridge side as they look to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats. “We’re expecting a very hard game,” said Hilton. “They (Bamber Bridge) reached the play-offs last season and they’ve made a decent start this season so were under no illusions it will be a difficult tie.”
Hilton has set about building from the back to make Stocksbridge difficult to beat this term after having one of the worse defensive records under the old regime when they leaked goals at an alarming rate conceding 130 in the league alone as they dropped out of the Premier Division.
However, Hilton hinted that his team will go on the offensive as they look to win the game at the first attempt. “We want to win it at home, what we don’t want is midweek replay back at Bamber Bridge so hopefully we will go out and get the right result.”
He added; “We need to work on a few things in training, we’ll be without Nathan (Joynes) as he starts his three match suspension and Will (Senior) has a slight calf strain so its touch and go whether he will be fit enough come Saturday.
“It’s an opportunity for those players that have not been starting to get in the team and take their chance.
Hilton, a big fan of the FA Cup, said:“It’s a great competition and one you want to go as far as you can. I played in the first round proper when I was a player with Frickley and its something I will always remember.”
Stocksbridge have just one win to show from their opening four games following Monday’s narrow 1-0 defeat at Brigg Town but Hilton believes there are signs they are heading in the right direction.
“We are doing a rebuilding job so that won’t be done in four games. We’ve stopped leaking goals at the rate we were doing previously. We know we need to be better in the final third but hopefully people can see the progress we are making.”
Sheffield FC will be in buoyant mood for their trip to Basford United following Monday’s resounding 5-0 home win over Rainworth Miners Welfare.
Basford play in the level below club having made a sideways move over the summer from the NCE Division One into the Midland League and Sheffield manager Mick Wadsworth admits he doesn’t know too much about their opponents.
“They are not a team I know particularly well but they have made a good start to the season and they’re at home so we can expect a difficult game.”
He continued; “I feel we’re on the right track now, we had a few injuries but we’ve got players coming back. We had a great win against Rainworth in the last outing with a bit of a patched up side.
“Jamie (Hadfield) is still struggling with a slight thigh problem but other than that everyone should be fit for selection.”
Sheffield have won two and lost two of their opening four games with both the defeats coming on the road which is something Wadsworth will be keen to put right.
Basford meanwhile sit top of their league having picked up 16-points from their opening six league games and are unbeaten in seven outings in all competitions.
In the Evo-Stik Premier Division , Matlock Town host next-to-bottom Barwell this evening in a game that both teams will be out to record their first win of the season.
The Gladiators have drawn three and lost one of their opening four games, while Barwell have taken two points from four outings.
Frickley Athletic go to Nantwich Town in search of a first win of the season, while the hosts have lost the opening two games at the Weaver Stadium. After three successive draw Buxton travel to Marine hoping they can go one better by picking up their first win at the fifth time of asking.