Uphill Trophy task ahead for Bucks at Colne on Saturday?

Liam Hardy
Liam Hardy

Buxton know they will have their work cut out on Colne’s infamous sloping pitch when they travel to Holt House for their FA Trophy second qualifying round tie on Saturday.

With Buxton in the NPL Premier Division and Colne a division below them, the Bucks will be seen as favourites.

But Buxton have been struggling to get their form together in the league and Colne have already taken the scalp of Premier Division leaders South Shields.

“Colne are a good little club. They have a good team and a good management team,” said Bucks boss Paul Phillips.

“So we need to go there and stamp our authority on things and hopefully we can do that.

“They knocked South Shields out of the FA Cup, so we won’t be taking them lightly.

“We also watched their previous game when they played Kidsgrove and we know it’s a tough place to go.

“It’s a big, open ground with a big hill on the pitch, so it’s probably going to be a game of two halves.”

He added: “This is a competition in which you want to go a long way and take a few scalps along the way.

“The Conference North teams come in next round so it’s up to us to go and do our jobs come Saturday and then hopefully take that into our league form too.”

Two penalties in the first 19 minute saw Buxton lose 2-1 at home to Ashton United on Saturday in a game in which the Bucks lost goal ace Liam Hardy with a broken and dislocated finger by half-time.

“First half we weren’t at the races. We were miles off it,” said Phillips.

“We conceded two penalties – one which was a nailed-on penalty and the other was three or four yards outside the box.

“But second half there was only one team that wanted it. We hit the bar and hit the post.

“Losing Liam at half-time was obviously a massive blow, but we had enough chances to get something out of the game.

“We deserved at least a draw out of it, if not to win it, even if we didn’t turn up first half.

“We need to address that. Liam and Diego (De Girolamo) are in form, but if they are not firing, we need alternatives for people putting the ball in the net.”

Phillips expects Hardy to play at Colne, saying: “He will be fine. He’s an old school player who wants to play and I am sure he will be okay for Saturday.”

On Tuesday night a young Buxton side were beaten 2-0 by visiting Belper Town in the Derbyshire Senior Cup.

“The team was made up of young kids and people we had to give chances to, so with no disrespect to the competition, it was more of a learning curve,” said Phillips.

“Academy players made debuts and got minutes last night which will hold them in good stead.

“The bigger game is coming on Saturday. Then on Tuesday we have the League Cup (at home to Ilkeston) which is down on our list of priorities with no disrespect, but you still want to win them.”

Among the debutants against Belper was former Bolton Wanderers forward Luca Navarro, who has signed for Buxton after a trial at Hull City.

“He is only 19,” said Phillips. “He played and did okay and, although he may get some minutes, he is probably one for the future.

“He needs to learn his trade. We will probably look to dual register him with someone else and get him some valuable experience.

Also along those given some minutes was Kyle Campbell, son of former Arsenal and Forest star Kevin Campbell.

“He did well - he’s only 16,” said Phillips.

“But we had to give them some rewards for how well they’ve been doing in the academy team. They’ve gone past expectations in the youth cup and trained really well.

“It was more of the physical element than the footballing element that caught up with them. But it was good to see how they adapted to it. “Hopefully they can keep pushing on in the academy and go from strength to strength.”