Weary Pitmen ready for greatest rivals

Boss Rob Smith hopes his weary Hednesford Town side can dig deep to seal silverware over their old enemy.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

The Pitmen are not going into tonight’s Staffordshire Senior Cup final against Stafford Rangers in the best of form.

They have played nine times in just over three weeks – due to a lot of games being called off earlier in the campaign because of bad weather – and won just once, 2-0 against Stoke in the semi-finals of this cup.

Smith said: “We have had that many games recently and, to be honest, it has absolutely killed us.

“It’s shown in our results recently too.

“We’ve really struggled to get a team out at times and we’ve only got a small squad anyway.

“We’ve been running on empty a bit.

“We’ve managed to shuffle things around a bit more in the last few games and we’ve had one eye on this game for a while.

“I’m sure the lads will be full of adrenaline for this one and hopefully that will see us through.”

Smith won the competition in 2013, during his first spell in charge of the club.

Some of the key players in that side, such as Keys Park stalwart Ben Bailey, are with the club now and their know-how could well be the deciding factor.

“The games between us tend to be pretty close, very evenly-matched, and I don’t see this one being any different,” said Smith.

“We have got a bit of experience in the squad, as well as youth, so they should be able to deal with the occasion – and rise to it.”

One player who could have a big say for Hednesford is striker Danny Glover.

He recently passed 150 appearances for the club – and 50 goals.

Winger Anthony Dwyer will be especially up for the clash too.

Recently signed from AFC Telford United, the former Mansfield Town youngster had a spell with Rangers last campaign.

Boro chief Kitching is determined to go out on a high. Leaving the club at the end of the season, after a mutual decision between him and the board to part ways, he won the competition with the club in 2015.

“Rob and (assistant) Larry (Chambers) have done a good job there, stabilised the club – and took them forward too,” said Kitching, who also won the cup as Rushall Olympic boss in 2014.

“At one point it looked like they were going to push for the play-offs (in the Evo-Stik Premier) but then they just fell away.

“It should be a very good game. I’m hoping that there’ll be a big turnout, at Stoke, for it. Hopefully we’ll be the ones lifting the cup at the end of it.”

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