FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Time to put the FA Cup behind us says Stamford AFC boss Drury
‘Time to get back to reality and focus on the league,’ were Stamford AFC boss Graham Drury’s words of warning on Sunday.
The Daniels return to Evo-Stik NPL First Division South action tomorrow night (Wednesday) when they host Loughborough Dynamo at the Zeeco Stadium, 745pm ko.
Stamford come in 20th position in the division however they have played just nine league games this season because of their cup success.
Their latest game in the First Division South was a 3-2 defeat away at Basford United on Monday last week.
Every other team in the division are into double figures in terms of games played, with most having racked up about 15 so far this season.
The news for Stamford is visiting Loughborough are struggling this season, sitting in 18th, with two more points than the Daniels, but having played a league high 17 matches already.
It could prove to be the perfect remedy to a cup hangover.
Drury said: “Our league form is so important, we have been struggling with our league form in between Wrexham and the Hartlepool game but now we have just got to get back to reality and football in the league.
“I told the players they have got to now try and make the season worthwhile. The FA Cup has been great financially for the club, but we have achieved nothing now. People mention that we have made history and we have achieved the first round, which is fantastic.It is a great adventure but when that adventure actually finishes you have to start concentrating on actually what we need to do.”
Stamford have netted nearly more than £42,000 in prize money and TV rights payments from their cup run as they reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in their 120-year history.
But the cup was never Stamford’s aim. It was promotion straight back to the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division having got relegated last season.
That is still looking a long way off.
But Drury remains confident their fate is still in their hands.
He said: “If we win a run of games now we will go into the playoffs comfortably but the pitches are turning now and teams have got points on the board, so it’s a leveller when the pitches turn at our level, so we have got to really dig in and defend like that [at Hartlepool] and hopefully we have the quality to finish games off.”
Drury said his side have the skill set to succeed in this league and they will now look to transfer what they have done so well in their cup run to their late-starting bid to win promotion.
After Stamford’s 3-0 defeat at League Two Hartlepool Drury said: “You get chances in our league a lot more than you do in games like this [FA Cup First Round].
“So if we can defend strong, and try and keep a couple of clean sheets that is going to be important.
“We have conceded a few goals of late, if you add those three to it we have conceded 12 goals in four games, so we have got to get back to clean sheets now and obviously start trying to put some points on the board. “If we put in performances like that, keep it nice and narrow, with good support play from the midfield, to support the back line and work rate from the front, we have got enough quality to score goal and we have got to get back to that.”
Stamford Mercury sports editor John Evely will be at the match on Wednesday providing live match updates on Twitter - follow him @Mercury_JohnE