SLEAFORD Town FC begins its new era with the visit of Holwell Works (Melton Mowbray) for an extra-preliminary FA cup match on Saturday
New manager Glen Maddison will lead out his first serious starting line-up for one of the most important games for many a long year.
The manager himself admits the seriousness of the occasion and how desperate he is for a win, saying: “It is our first ‘proper’ game, my first as the new manager and my first at this level of competition, so yes, there will be some nerves.
“We really do need to get this cup-tie won. I want to stop the bad run of defeats in cup games, while of course there is the matter of the FA reward for winning at this stage of the cup competition, believed to be one thousand pounds. It would be great to be able to help the coffers.”
Maddison was planning to look at Holwell last Saturday as they embarked on their league programme. They are a step below Town in the rankings so Sleaford should be favourites to go through. However, the record against teams ranked lower is not good, most strikingly games against Borrowash Victoria and Greenwood Meadows.
After the first two defeats in the pre-season friendlies against higher ranked opponents, Town found their goal touch in the next four outings. Louth were on the end of four goals at Eslaforde Park as were Wrangle in a hastily arranged away game.
Town then banged in three away to March and finally a further three away to Nettleham. Richard Jackson netted from 25 yards, Tony Edwards scored with a typical harassment of the keeper and Liam Tunstall finished after a fine move.
Maddison has been well pleased with the goal tally and may well have his biggest selection problem in attack. He has utilised a 4-3-3 formation which he admits he does not like.
He said: “It does seem to have worked, even though I am not its greatest fan. It has allowed Richard Jackson, Nick Bishop and Shaun Popple to line up together across the middle and they have worked well. Anyway, it is easy to switch to 4-4-2 if necessary.”
He is naturally playing his cards close to his chest regarding selection but one suspects he will find room for new signing Tony Edwards up front, but whether he can facilitate Tom Sargeant and Liam Tunstall in the same attack is questionable.
Of the newcomers, midfielder Richard Jackson is an almost certain starter. I have watched and admired this young man over several years, right through his time with Horncastle Town reserve side in the Lincoln League and his progress into the first team at Lincolnshire League level.
With new signing Andrew Hewitt in goal, formerly with Boston United, the back line will also provide a question. Kris Jones and Joe Braithwaite as the central defensive pairing, Ash Morrell could well be at right-back, with Lee Llewellyn and Adam Fenton in competition for the left-back spot. Actually, many believe that Fenton’s best position is at centre-half.
So the new era has arrived. With a new manager in harness and his new squad of players raring to go, the club now hopes for plenty of positive support for this most vital of FA cup games. Kick-off is 3pm.