FOOTBALL: Stamford AFC ready to do battle with Wrexham again in FA Cup replay
Stamford AFC head to Wrexham AFC tonight (Tuesday) for a second shot at earning a place in the first round of the FA Cup proper.
The Daniels learnt last night that should they beat Wrexham, who play three divisions higher than them in the Vanarama National League, then they will travel to League Two Hartlepool United on November 5.
But Stamford manager Graham Drury said everyone’s focus needs to be on the job at hand.
He said: “It is crazy to look beyond tonight. We should have got the job done one Saturday so we have got to prepare for a really hard game tonight.
“Drawing Hartlepool in the next round will rev them up as well, because the Wrexham players will want to play them just as much as we do.
“We have not been able to train, we will be preparing in the changing rooms before the match if I am honest.
“Some of the lads had to work late last night to they could have time off today so we couldn’t train then.
“We have to thank employers for giving people the time off to be able to play.
“We have a couple of school teachers [Sam Hill and Jake Duffy) who find it hard to have time off but their headmasters have been good and let them go a couple of hours early.
“I think they understand that it is a big occasion for the players.”
Drury revealed the squad for tonight should be exactly the same as Saturday, with Jordan Smith still banned and Grant Ryan cup tied, although it seems highly unlikely that big Tom Batchelor will be starting up front again after Drury’s gamble on playing the defender as a striker failed to have an impact.
Drury said: “We have an 18-man squad for tonight and everyone is raring to go. There are a few niggles people are carrying but you would expect that. It’s nothing too serious.”
The Daniels are something of replay kings this season. On their way to the fourth round of qualifying Stamford have twice had to play replays so far, beating St Neots 4-1 in the first round of qualifying and Gresley 1-0 in the second round, both victories coming at home. However Drury understandably thinks tonight’s game at the Racecourse Stadium, 130 miles from Stamford will be the toughest yet.
“I had done my homework really well ahead of Saturday, but with Wrexham sacking Gary Mills two days before the match they probably didn’t know as much about us - they do now. A Gary Mills led team would have known more about us.”
Stamford Mercury sports editor John Evely will be tweeting live from the match tonight - follow him on @Mercury_JohnE for all the latest and check online for his match report at the final whistle.