BUXTON FC manager Martin McIntosh expects his players to face their sternest test so far this season when they meet league high-fliers Hednesford Town in the FA Cup on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
The Bucks travel to Staffordshire in the Third Qualifying Round of the competition to face a side in a rich vein of form, having lost just one of their eight Evo-Stik Premier Division fixtures played so far this season.
McIntosh’s men comfortably saw off lower-league Quorn and Stamford in previous rounds of the Budweiser-sponsored competition, but the gaffer expects a cautious approach to this weekend’s tough challenge.
“Hednesford have had one bad result in about nine or ten matches, so they are absolutely flying,” he said.
“They have some quality players and a good manager who knows the game very well, so I think it will be the hardest game we have had all season.”
Buxton head into the match on the back of a three-game winning run in all competitions, during which they have scored 13 goals. The latest was a comfortable 4-0 victory over Lincoln United on Saturday in the FA Trophy, thanks to goals from Kyle Nix, Marc Roberts, Lee Morris and a first for the club from Kevin Sandwith.
Their reward is a home tie against another Premier Division rival in big-spending North Ferriby United, to be played on Saturday October 27.
McIntosh said: “I think it’s a fantastic draw, and another game I would go into with confidence. I think at home, we are a match for anyone.”
And on the performance at Lincoln, for which the manager made four changes, he continued: “The players who came in did well and the team didn’t look weakened, so that gives me a good problem (over team selection).
“You can only beat what is put in front of you. Playing against ten men is clearly easier, but against Lincoln we moved the ball around well, used the width of the pitch and stretched them, and we could have gone on and scored more goals.”
Following the match, McIntosh praised his two centre halves and the performances of goalscorers Nix and Sandwith, saying: “Kevin is a really talented player with a great left foot, and he demonstrated that with his goal.”
And following Morris’ fifth goal in three matches since returning to the Silverlands, the boss added: “Morris has been a major plus for us. He was a player that came recommended to me by Scott (Maxfield), who was very confident that he would do well for us, and that’s proven to be bang on.
“He’s really made a difference for us, with that added experience, and his five goals in three matches just show that.”
Should Saturday’s game at Hednesford end in a draw, the tie will be replayed at the Silverlands the following Wednesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm), with extra time and penalties if required.
But victory for either opponent on Saturday will see the Bucks in Evo-Stik Premier Division action away at Ilkeston FC on Monday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).