Hednesford Town go into their biggest match of the season so far as huge favourites against one of the lowest ranked teams left in the FA Cup knowing that anything other than a victory on Saturday afternoon would go down as a major shock.
Nuneaton Griff have already played five matches to reach the Second Qualifying Round, needing replays to knock out Earlswood Town and Sporting Khansa in the Preliminary and Extra Preliminary Rounds before overcoming Dudley Town 1-0 in the First Qualifying Round.
The team from Warwickshire have never reached this stage of the competition and currently play in the Midland Combination Premier Division, winning their first four games of the season they sit in eigth position but hold some six games in hand on teams above them.
The Pitmen have a chequered history against minnows in the FA Cup having been shocked by the likes of Gedling Town and Pegasus Juniors in recent seasons and manager Rob Smith knows his team cannot take Nuneaton lightly, especially after Tuesday’s heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Worksop Town.
‘It’s the FA Cup and Nuneaton are at this stage on merit, we have to be at our best. There will be no complacency and we want to get back to winning ways. All teams are well organised against us and all games are hard, we know that, but the Worksop game will be the kick up the backside I knew would come at some point.’
Neil Harvey is away on international duty with Babrbados and Jamey Osborne is serving the last of his three game suspension. Sean O’Connor, missing injured in the last two games, will be looked at in training on Thursday night.
Hednesford have, in the past, always taken a healthy following of supporters to away fixtures in the FA Cup and, despite the game being played at an athletics stadium, Smith is keen to hear the fans make some noise to encourage his team.
‘The fans have been superb on our travels again this season but with the ground the way it is atmosphere may be hard to generate. The more noise our fans can make the better for the team.’
Kick off on Saturday is 3pm and the Travel Club will again be putting on a coach to the game, any fans looking to book are encouraged to call Ken Leese on 07935 723290.
Should Hednesford emerge unscathed from the clash at The Pingles Stadium their name will be in the hat for the Third Qualifying Round for the second year in a row and dreams of a first appearance in the First Round proper for seven years will still be very much alive.
Pitmen Form – DDWWWL
Previous Result – Hednesford Town 0 Worksop Town 4 – Tue 18th September – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division
Next Fixture – Bedworth United (H) Saturday 29th September 3pm KO
League Position – 3rd
Nuneaton Griff Form – DLWLLL
Previous Result – Gornal Town 2 Nuneaton Griff 0 – Saturday 15th September – FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Next Fixture – Pilkington XXX (A) – Midland Combination Premier Division
League Position – 8th
KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – The Pingles Stadium, Avenue Road, Nuneaton, CV11 4LX