By: Paul Webster
Stocksbridge Park Steels take on Vanarama Nation League North Stalybridge Celtic in the FA Trophy in what is one of the biggest games in years at Bracken Moor.
Steels reached the fourth qualifying round for the first time in the clubs history last season and boss Chris Hilton feels his side are capable of repeating the feat for a second successive year.
“I think a lot of people didn’t think we could do it two seasons in a row, but we thought why not lets give it a go again.
“We’ve done well to reach the third qualifying round as we’ve not exactly had the easiest of draws and we now want to make it to the fourth round and beyond if possible.
“Confidence is high, we’ve just come off the back off an excellent result away at Spalding.
We know we’re more than capable of getting the right result on the day. There’s one thing for sure wont be parking the bus as that’s not the way we play.”
Despite confidence being high in the Steels camp Hilton issued a word of warning that it will be a tough test for his side. “They’re two division above us so that tells you they should have more experience and better players than us. It s going to be a hard game and we know we’ll have to perform at our best and hope that those little bits of luck you need go our way. But these are games that players want to be part of to test themselves against higher league opponents and see how they match up.”
Hilton was delighted that his side had bounced back from back-to-back league defeats to beat high riding Spalding in the last outing.
“We deserved to win to be honest we were the better team. We were in control at 2-0 up at the interval but then conceded a goal inside the first minute of the second half. It knocked the stuffing out of us for a few minutes but we’ve regrouped and got the third and to be fair could have had a couple more before they’ve got one back in stoppage time.
“The performances have been there but we’ve just not been turning them into results. I think with our performances we should perhaps have had another eight points. But we’ve played each one of the top four sides and taken 10 points from 12 so you have to be happy with that.”
Stalybridge are not in the best of form having lost the last three on the spin and currently sit second from bottom of their respective table with three wins from 19 league outings.
Stocksbridge expect striker Joe Lumsden and skipper Liam McFadyen to have shaken off knocks but midfielder Ashley Burbeary is unavailable.