Let’s get up for the cup!
After an early exit in this season’s FA Cup, we will be very keen to progress in the blue riband competition for non-league teams – the FA Trophy.
But it’s going to be tough. As we were in both rounds of the FA Cup, we’ve been drawn away again – this time to Belper Town of the Northern Premier League East.
Belper have had a terrific start to their league season currently lying in second place having won four of their opening six games. They’re a team with plenty of goals in them having bagged 17 already this season, but they do have a tendency to leak a few too.
Speaking of leaks, (incoming tenuous link…) they were drawn against Leek in the FA Cup this season, led 2-1 with 20 minutes left, only to concede four times in the last 20 minutes to lose 5-2. Watertight, they are not.
However, in Kevin Bastos they do possess their league’s leading scorer. Bastos has scored eight league goals already this season and has found the net in all of his side’s opening six league matches.
But as we revealed yesterday, we have a big goal threat of our own, having completed the signing of Dan Cockerline from Nantwich Town yesterday. We expect Dan to lead the line on his debut this Saturday.
We’re still missing a couple with injuries, but the garden is looking rosier by the day. James McClenaghan is close to full fitness; however Joe Slinn may continue to deputise between the sticks.
With such a deep squad, the Trophy may be an opportunity for the gaffer to try a few more players and potentially use it as a chance to give players returning from knocks some minutes. But rest assured, this is a game that we are intent on winning, as progress in the cup is important to the club.
One of those returning players Joe Berks, scored when we last played Belper in October 2020. That was in the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy – Saturday’s game is in the first round of qualifying.
The game three years ago finished 2-2 as we came from 2-0 down and then went on to progress 5-4 on penalties. A repeat would be very handy.
With Dan Cockerline joining us, we also say goodbye to Max Chimenes, who has moved on to our opponents from last weekend, 1874 Northwich. It goes without saying that we wish Max all the very best at his new club.
If after 90 minutes the scores are level on Saturday, then as was the case the last time we met, the match will go straight to penalties with the winners going through to the next round on Saturday 23 September.
Come on ‘Castle!