Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton believes his side are capable of matching last season’s history-making FA Trophy run ahead of their first qualifying round clash against Division One North Lancaster City at home.
Steels reached the first round proper last term for the first time in their history beating holders North Ferriby United 2-1 at home along the way before eventually going out at Gateshead. “People tell me we’ll not do it again (cup run), well why not?” said Hilton.
“The management team and players believe it’s possible. And that’s what we are aiming for. If we manage that then it would be nice to draw one of big clubs play and a large crowd. There is also the bonus of the financial reward, which would please the chairman.
“We don’t fear anyone. If we play like we can then we’re a match for anybody. But it’s one game at a time. Our immediate priority is Saturday. We’ve had a good month so we want to make sure we end it on a high. Lancaster are a decent side but they will have their work cut out if we play to our capabilities. We’ve got a decent record at home so we must keep that going.”
Steels are on an unbeaten run to seven games in league cup when coming from behind to beat Kidsgrove Athletic 2-1 in the last outing.
“I don’t think there was any argument we deserved three points,” said Hilton. “We conceded early but their goal took a massive deflection off Liam McFadyen. It was all us the second half. The first goal to be fair was a cross that dropped in but we’d had good chances before that. I was confident once we’d got the equaliser we’d win the game, which we did.
“We’re starting to looking more like we did last term, passing and moving the ball quickly. We’re also doing the hard work off the ball which is pleasing.”
Scott Ruthven is doubtful (hamstring) but fullback Josh Meade, who has been in good form this season is in the squad after missing the Kidsgrove game.
Shaw Lane AFC host Premier Division Frickley Athletic in a tie were the Ducks are likely to start favourites despite being in a lower division. Craig Elliott’s side are four points clear at the top of Division One South and unbeaten in six at home.
Frickley have struggled somewhat this term and find themselves third from bottom of the Premier Division.
Sheffield FC have the opportunity to complete a first league double of the season when they travel to Basford United.
Club beat Basford 3-0 at home 10-days ago with goals from Matt Roney, Lee Cooksey and Conor Hall. The Notts side though are a different prospect on their artificial surface where they have won the last four on the spin and overall having been beaten just once in seven games.
Sheffield have yet to pick up a point on their travels after five attempts and with the next four league games all away, its a trend they cannot allow to continue.
FA Trophy First Qualifying Round: Buxton v Glossop North End, Shaw Lane AFC v Frickley Athletic, Stocksbridge Park Steels v Lancaster City
Division One South: Basford United v Sheffield FC.