The FA Trophy takes centre-stage this weekend with the First Qualifying Round that sees both Sheffield FC and Stocksbridge Park Steels on the road.
Sheffield FC visit Premier Division Marine where Andy Kiwomya’s side aim to bounce back from a first league defeat in six games after going down 3-2 at Coalville on Tuesday in a game they had led 2-0.
“We talked about the defeat against Coalville and how we can address what went wrong” said Kiwomya. “It was all very positive, we will be looking to implement what was discussed against Marine. We’re an attack minded team and I don’t want to change the way we play. I believe in this group of players. It’s taken a while to put together, but I’ve got a team that I’m proud of. There is competition for places and players rise to that challenge.”
Marine are 19th in the Premier Division and have won just twice in 10 games at home in all competitions but Kiwomya knows his team face a difficult 90 minutes; “If you go anywhere in Liverpool you’re going to get a tough game. We have to make sure we go there prepared to roll our sleeves and work hard if we want to come away with a result.” Skipper Conor Glavin returns from suspension.
Stocksbridge boss Chris Hilton is hoping to bring in two new signings ahead of Sunday’s tie at Division North high-fliers Northwich Victoria.
“We’re a bit thin on the ground, we’ve got players missing with injury or suspension,” said Hilton. “Jack Poulton is ruled out with a swollen knee and Lee Garside is still a couple of weeks away. Richard Patterson is suspended and Andy Fox is unavailable. Adam Hinchliffe is still not fully fit after missing the last three weeks with injury, so it’s a matter of easing him back in at the moment.
“We’ve spoken to a couple of players we’re trying to get in. They are not coming just to fill in, they are players that will strengthen the squad. Hopefully we’ll get both deals done or at least one of them over the line in time for Sunday.”
Hilton knows his team face a tough test to reach the next round. Northwich are third in their respective table where they have a 100% league record after five games and are unbeaten in eight in all competitions on home soil. “We’ve been told they’re are a big strong mobile side that are well organised. They’re at home, they’ll be expected to win so the pressure is on them. We might change the style we play but we won’t be going there looking to defend and close up shop. They’ve just reached the first round proper of the FA Cup and is a big money spinner for them, so hopefully they will have one eye on that.”
Striker Joe Lumsden is set to make his debut after completing his suspension picked up at former club Armthorpe Welfare.
Elsewhere, Frickley Athletic go to Premri Division Buxton rivals looking to make it three wins on the spin, while in-form Shaw Lane Aquaforce entertain Division One North strugglers Farsley Celtic.