Hednesford boss Rob Smith, returning to the New Bucks Head for the first time since being relieved of his duties at AFC Telford United, has led a rallying call to the droves of Pitmen supporters flocking to their local rivals on Saturday.
Both Hednesford and Telford undoubtedly wanted a somewhat more straightforward draw in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, but Smith admits that it will be a fantastic occasion and wants his team’s fans to add to the tinderbox atmosphere.
‘I haven’t been able to use my usual programme notes to ask, so I am personally requesting that as many Hednesford fans as are able to congregate in the stand behind the goal where the away fans are designated at the New Bucks Head and make as much noise as possible.
It can be an intimidating ground and a lonely place for the opposition, so if our fans turn up in their usual exceptional numbers the players will revel in the atmosphere.’
A local clash between two clubs with a deep seated history and rivalry is an occasion to be savoured by both sets of supporters but, adding the personal back stories involving The Bucks, with Smith, his assistants Larry Chambers, Steve Wynn and Chris Brindley, first team players Kris Taylor and The Skrill North top scorer Elliott Durrell all returning to their former stomping ground, Saturday is a massive game.
‘I think returning to your old club always adds a bit of spice and including the fact I’m locking horns with Liam Watson again, after so many occasions before as manager of Telford, it is one of those quirks that only the FA Cup can throw up. It will be a special game. I know my players will not be overawed but they must stay focused on their job. On any park, on any day, this a difficult match.’
Any supporters keen to join the throngs travelling to Wellington on Saturday are advised to contact Ken Leese on 07935 723290 to book a place on the Supporters Coach.