The ‘Integro League Cup’ isn’t exactly a priority for Buxton this season, but Tuesday’s tie with Radcliffe Borough turned into a pretty special affair.
The Bucks won 6-2 to progress to the next round, but it was perhaps the line-up and the goalscorers that pleased boss Martin McIntosh the most.
There was a brace of goals for local lad George Milner, currently on dual registration with Clipstone for whom he also scored on Saturday.
Brad Grayson found the net on his return from injury and other players like Jamie Jackson got some valuable minutes on the pitch.
And one of the men in blue cemented his family legacy at the Silverlands.
McIntosh explained: “It was brilliant, I thought we performed really well.
“We had a few lads who needed minutes and we had four of our development squad players involved, like keeper Jack Barlow who made two or three really good saves.
“We got to blood a few of these young lads.
“George is a local lad who lives in Buxton and Nick Bainbridge whose dad played 600 league games for Buxton and who becomes the third generation of his family to play for the club.
“It was a really good night for them.”
The attitude of his senior players pleased him too, in a competition they know isn’t the most crucial – not when they sit three points off the top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
Saturday sees the Bucks return to the bread and butter with a trip to midtable Stourbridge, closely followed by Tuesday’s clash at the Silverlands against fellow top 10 side Nantwich Town.
McIntosh can’t afford to look too far ahead, but admits the second half of November will be key for his men.
“These are two very, very difficult games,” he said.
“We’ve got a really tough month in fact, playing teams in and around us.
“It’s an important time for us to make sure we’re at it and picking up points.”
Stourbridge might be a little off the pace in the league, but they’ve proved their quality in other competitions according to Buxton’s boss.
The Glassboys’ 3-0 win over Whitehawk on Monday secured £18,000 in prize money and an FA Cup second round tie against League One club Northampton Town.
“They’ve done really well in the cups,” he said.
“They’re an excellent side and then we’ve got Nantwich who narrowly beat us 1-0 at their place – we know what a good side they are.”
McIntosh insists he hasn’t set a points target for the halfway mark of the season, but with the midway point approaching he seems content with their progress.
“If you set targets then you think you’re doing better or not as well as you’d set out to, we just take it as it comes,” he said.
“This time last year we weren’t three points off the top so we’re probably ahead of the game at the minute.
“We’re not doing too badly but it’s a big month ahead.”
Mercifully the fifth-placed Bucks, still unbeaten at home in the league, are staring at those upcoming fixtures with a relatively clean bill of health.
McIntosh said: “I think everyone is fit for Saturday.
“Niall Doran has been injured and Brad Grayson was out for a long time but got 90 minutes on Tuesday night which is a big boost for us.
“Jamie Jackson got a goal and played 50 minutes, so even though the League up is not the most important competition we’re in it was a really helpful night for us.”