Hednesford Town face Stamford in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round on Saturday as both teams look to reach the holy grail of the First Round Proper, with the chance to draw a League One big boy.
It goes without saying that The Pitmen have pedigree in what is reckoned to be the greatest cup competition in the world, having enjoyed huge success in the 1990’s, but since the turn of the millennium Hednesford supporters, so desperate for a return to the heady days of Joe O’Connor and Scott Cooksey, have been starved of FA Cup glory.
Since the 1999/2000 season when they were beaten by Aldershot Town at Keys Park the club have appeared in the First Round draw only twice, losing 4-2 at home to Oldham Athletic in 2001 and losing 4-0 away to Histon in 2005.
Should manager Rob Smith lead his team to victory on Saturday, an appearance on television could well be guaranteed and this will continue his superb rebuilding of the Hednesford squad, only adding to the feeling that under his tutorship this team can scale the heights of the famous 90’s team.
Smith stressed how much effort has gone into reaching this stage and is hoping to get the result for the supporters more than anyone else.
‘It would mean a great deal to me, personally and for the players. We have set our sights on this and put in the heroic performance at West Auckland. The fans have been side by side with us on the journey and I know they will be extra vocal for us on Saturday. I’m just hopeful we can repay them with a win.’
After a tiring week, including a dramatic first game against West Auckland at Keys Park and then a combined 740 mile distance travelled to Durham and Cumbria in the next two matches, Smith was delighted at being able to give the players some rest before Saturday and see his squad’s injury crisis ease somewhat.
‘I can’t begin to tell you how welcome the break is, we were mentally and physically exhausted after Saturday, you could see during the last fifteen minutes against Workington that the tank was empty.
Hopefully we will be ok injury wise. Darren Campion should be fit along with Aaron Rey as well. The only real issue is Francino Francis who has picked up a strange hip injury which is causing us major concern, but we will have to wait and see.’
Hednesford’s opponents on Saturday have never reached the First Round Proper in their history and, after losing to Stafford Rangers on Tuesday night, sit in a lowly 21st place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division but Smith, able to draw on the knowledge gained by recent scouting trips to watch The Daniels, believes that a pacey forward line could cause his team problems.
‘They are a very good side going forward, they score lots of goals because of the pace they have out wide and up front.’
The usual strong away following for Hednesford will no doubt be out in force again, buoyed by the hope and expectation that, come 1.35pm on Sunday afternoon, there will be a ball in the draw with their name proudly on it.
Que sera sera?
Hednesford Town Form – WWWDWD
Previous Result – Workington 2 Hednesford Town 2 – The Skrill North – Saturday 19th October 2013
Next Fixture – Altrincham (A) – Saturday 2nd November 2013
League Position – 1st
Stamford Form – DWWWLL
Previous Result – Stafford Rangers 2 Stamford 1 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Tuesday 22nd October 2013
Next Fixture – Rushall Olympic (A) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Tuesday 29th October 2013
League Position – 21st
KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – The Daniels Stadium, Kettering Road, Stamford, PE9 2JS
Adults – £9
Senior Citizens and Concessions – £6
Students – £6
Armed Forces – £6
11-15 year olds – £3
Children under 11 FREE
Club Supporters Coach
Departure Time – 11am
Prices – £13 Adults & £10 Concessions.
Contact – Scott Smith on 07518144801