AFTER two disappointing league defeats, Stratford Town boss Tommy Wright admits this weekend’s FA Cup clash against Boldmere St Michaels is a welcome distraction.
The Blues suffered back-to-back BetVictor Southern Premier Central defeats for the first time this season, having lost 4-1 at Rushall Olympic on Bank Holiday Monday before suffering a 2-1 reverse at home to Biggleswade Town on Saturday.
With frustrations rife among the Town management team as well as the fans, Wright says Saturday’s FA Cup game at the Arden Garages Stadium (3pm kick-off) is the ideal game to get back on the winning trail.
However, the Town gaffer stressed they cannot afford to take Boldmere too lightly, despite them sitting rock bottom of the Midland League Premier Division, two levels below the Blues.
Wright went to watch Boldmere’s 4-1 preliminary round replay victory over Stourport Swifts on Monday night and was impressed with what he saw.
“Boldmere have scored seven goals in their last two games and from what I saw on Monday, they always looked like scoring when going forward so they will pose a serious threat,” he said.
“We may be coming up against a team that is rock bottom of the division two levels below us, but they’re going to be playing with no fear and looking for a cup upset.
“Boldmere are a well-organised side with pace in the right areas so it’s important we execute our game plan to perfection and make the most of their weaknesses if we want to progress.
“Boldmere also had a couple of lads who would not look out of place at our level on the non-league pyramid, so we might be dipping into the Midland League to see what players could make the step up to our level.
“We’ve had two disappointing results in the league recently so hopefully our FA Cup game will be a welcome distraction for everybody.
“The FA Cup is the biggest competition in the country and I will be fielding the strongest team possible so we can go on a good cup run.
“I loved the FA Cup as a player and managed to reach the first round when I was managing Corby Town so it’d be great to do something similar with Stratford Town.
“You have to play a lot of games to get there, but in football anything can happen.”
Wright is boosted by the returns of defenders Luis Morrison and Linden Dovey for the FA Cup clash and the Town gaffer could also have the services of midfielder Ross Oulton available to him.
However, he will no longer have Cody Fisher in the squad after the left-back decided to join Stourbridge and team up with ex-Blues players Jordan Williams, Will Grocott and Mike Taylor.
Despite this, Wright is expecting his players to put on a good show in front of the Town faithful at the Arden Garages Stadium.
“The FA Cup is one of those competitions where, as a manager, it makes you want to put the boots back on and get out there playing again,” he added.
“I love the FA Cup and the players should relish the opportunity of playing in this competition.
“It’s an exciting thing to be a part of as it gives you a massive opportunity to go toe-to-toe with players from a higher level.
“This must be the only cup competition where a Step Seven player could be signed by a professional club for putting on a really good display on the pitch.
“There’s nothing quite like the FA Cup and it’s important the lads rise to the occasion.”
Having witnessed two poor defeats in the league, Wright stressed the importance of not focussing too much on those results.
“I don’t want the players to be looking back at those last two results, they should be looking back at how well they performed against AFC Rushden & Diamonds,” he added.
“Against the then league leaders, we showed exactly what we are capable of doing on the pitch.
“Just because we’ve lost two games in a row doesn’t mean the players have become bad footballers overnight.
“Perhaps I have been too loyal to some of the players and that’s backfired on me so I take responsibility for that, but it’s important we try to forget about that and move on quickly.”
After Saturday, Town begin the defence of their Southern League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night when Halesowen Town visit the Arden Garages Stadium (7.45pm kick-off).
Wright will be taking the game seriously, but pointed out he will not bother thinking about what team he puts out until after Saturday.
Meanwhile, Town will play host to Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Birmingham FA Senior Cup first round.
The tie must be played on or before Saturday, 26th October.