‘League form will help in FA Cup’

Gainsborough Trinity v Stalybridge Celtic. Trinity player Tom Ward G130824-5b
Gainsborough Trinity v Stalybridge Celtic. Trinity player Tom Ward G130824-5b

Trinity manager Steve Housham says the upturn in his side’s fortunes will help them focus on Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Rushall Olympic.

After taking seven points from the last three games, Housham’s side enter the second qualifying round of the historic competition in much improved form as they look to advance.

“We’re off the bottom of the table now which we can enjoy,” said Housham after last weekend’s 1-0 win at Leamington, “It gives us chance to focus on the FA Cup this week – it’s the biggest competition in the world, one which I’m particularly fond of.”

Visiting the Northolme on Saturday are Rushall, who sit ninth in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League after a 3-1 defeat at Trafford on Saturday.

Managed by Neil Kitching, Rushall can boast veteran Football League striker Dele Adebola amongst their ranks, but much of the hype surrounds youngster Ahmed Obeng, who spent time on trial at Adebola’s former club Birmingham City over the summer.

Although the two clubs have never met, Housham does have experience against the Walsall-based club, having lost out to the Pics in the 2010-11 NPL Division One South play-off semi final whilst manager of Brigg Town.

“Rushall are a tough, tricky game for us. We have to keep focus and concentration as they’re a good side. I’m thankful it’s a home tie to be honest.”

“What we have got from the last few games is confidence, which will stand us in good stead for Saturday.”

Confidence and focus seem to be the buzzwords in the Trinity camp, and defender Tom Ward – who was Man of the Match on Saturday – says that the players are riding on the crest of a wave after three points and a clean sheet.

“We’re enjoying our football now and that is helping us to get results,” he told the Standard.

“It (the FA Cup) is a huge competition; we want to win every game and Saturday will be no different”.

With six years having passed since reaching the “Holy Grail” of the First Round Proper, the Blues will be looking to improve on last year’s showing in the oldest club competition in the world when they crashed out at the first hurdle, losing to Chester FC after extra time in a replay.

Although things didn’t quite go as planned in the FA Cup, Trinity had one of their most successful years ever in their other knockout competition, reaching the semi-final of the FA Trophy before falling agonisingly short against Wrexham over two legs.