Newmarket Town will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they travel to Stotford FC this weekend in the FA Vase First Round Proper
After their 2-1 victory away to Ely City in the last round, Town go to Bedfordshire looking to use the competition as a chance to regain form after losing their last two league games.
Manager Kevin Grainger knows all about his opponents and won’t be taking them lightly.
He said: “They are in the same league but in an opposite division, we are higher up our league but it still won’t be an easy game for us.”
Town will be missing three key players, midfielder Jake Wayne is unavailable, striker Lee Clift is injured and Adam Dolby is suspended after his sending off against Brantham Athletic.
With no senior players left at his disposal, Grainger will give other players a chance to show their worth.
He continued: “Injuries, suspensions and holidays are affecting the team, so this means we will have to bring in some younger lads again to fill in the gaps and see what they can do.”
Since the last round, Newmarket have lost to Brantham (3-0) and Fakenham Town (4-3) in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division league, but Grainger feels in both games they were very unlucky.
He said: “To be fair, we played Brantham off the pitch but then we had Dalby sent off and it went wrong in the end.
“With the Fakenham match we were three goals to the good and they earned that win in the second half which was a massive blow to everyone here as we thought we had that game won.”
The inconsistency with his team is not overlooked by the manager but he takes a more broader view.
He said: “We started off well in the league, we are still in the FA Vase and we are in the league cup as well, we have played some super games and in others we haven’t delivered.
“This Stotford game is a chance to get back on track.”
The money from the vase is also good for the club and the manager is fully aware of how it rewards on and off the pitch.
“The competition gives the club a couple of quid and gives us a chance to test ourselves with teams we may never meet normally, it helps us all over this club and is important to all of us and the fans.”
Grainger hopes to get the win and play someone in a different league in the second round to test his players and maybe travel.
He is putting the league to one side this weekend, but knows form is just around the corner and Saturday could be where it all re-starts.
“The lads will bounce back, we look no further than the next game in front of us, but we know we must win the game on Saturday against Stotford to start things up again.”