STAMFORD and Deepings’ top trio face a series of tough tests this weekend.
Deeping Rangers take on higher league opposition for the third time in the FA Cup tomorrow while the Daniels travel to league leaders Ilkeston.
The Derbyshire side are one of the big boys in the Evo-Stik League’s First Division South and Daniels boss Simon Clark said his side relishes the prospect of taking them on.
“It’s a very big game for us,” said Clark. “It would be a fantastic scalp and would let us make our mark on the league.
“If we apply ourselves we stand a chance against a team that is historically way above us in the league. Win, lose or draw it will also show us how far we have come.”
Ilkeston Town dropped down from the Blue Square Bet North league following financial troubles in 2010. Two months after being wound up, the side was reformed as Ilkeston FC and after beating previous leaders Sheffield away last Saturday they are top of the table.
Clark has all his players with the exception of Andy Toyne available to play and said travelling support would be a massive boost at a club that regularly attracts crowds of 500.
He said: “It would be lovely to have 50 or so there in their red shirts so that we can see them. It’s absolutely brilliant to have fans behind us. It really helps the players.”
At Outgang Road, Tuncay Korkmaz made a similar call for support as his side take on Evo-Stik League First Divison South side Leek Town at home tomorrow.
Leek have a strong non-league pedigree reaching the final of the FA Trophy in 1990 and are unbeaten in their last five league games, winning their last three to move up to fifth. That run includes last Saturday’s 2-1 victory against 2010 FA Vase winners, Coalville, but they lost 4-0 at Witton in the league cup on Tuesday.
Rangers, who have already seen off Belper Town and New Mills during their cup run, will face them without skipper Adam Weston tomorrow.
Weston suffered a horrific facial injury during Rangers’ victory over Ollerton Town in the FA Vase last weekend and Korkmaz said: “I’ve told the lads to do it for the skipper. He’s gutted he will miss the FA Cup game.
“It’s a big occasion for the players but we have experience against teams in this league. We are playing decent football and have goals in us.”
Leek are a well-supported club and the Rangers boss added: “Leek are one of the best supported teams in their league so we hope Deeping folk will turn up.”
But it is Blackstones who will get things started this evening, away at second-placed Peterborough Northern Star.
Stones fell to a surprise defeat at Holwell Sports in the FA Vase last week and will hope to return to their early season form at Northern Star, where they will see several familiar faces.
The Peterborough side are the league’s top socrers, winning seven from nine in the league with Avellino Vierra and Jonathan Stead among the leading goalscorers.
Kick off at PNS’ Chestnut Avenue ground is at 7.45pm.