Glassboys wary of Boro in Cup encounter
Ian Long is wary of the threat Stafford Rangers will pose in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup – despite the two sides’ contrasting starts to the season.
While the Glassboys are fourth in the Southern Central Premier under new boss Long, winless Boro sit just one off the bottom of the equivalent Northern Premier.
But Stafford went through September unbeaten and Long watched first hand their stunning 3-0 win over higher-league Kidderminster Harriers in the last round.
“They are a good side and are in a little bit of a false position,” said Long. “I went and watched them against Kidderminster in their replay and I was impressed – they have pace, power and are well organised.
“If you didn’t know any better which team was full-time and which team was part-time, you would have gone with Stafford as full-time.”
The Glassboys enjoyed plenty of success in the FA Cup under former boss Gary Hackett – most notably reaching the third round proper in the 2016/17 season. Though Long is yet to go past the third qualifying round in his career, he feels no added pressure because of the club’s previous exploits.
“I don’t think it matters what club you are at, there’s always pressure with regards to the prize money,” he said. “We are never going to win the FA Cup, but to get to the first round if something that is achievable.”
To do so, they must first get past Stafford – with joint-boss Alex Meechan talking up his side’s chances.
“I believe we are good enough on any given day to beat anyone – and we’ve shown that in the last six games,” he said. “We’ve got to be on the money – if you win on Saturday you are one away from a potentially big tie in the first round. Opportunities like this don’t come around very day.”
The Glassboys could give a debut to former Walsall striker Alex Nicholls, Midfielder Dave Bellis could return from injury for the Glassboys, while winger Theo Bailey-Jones remains out for Stafford – he will miss most of the season with a ruptured Achilles. Boro midfielder Tom Thorley is also weeks away from returning after suffering a knee injury.
Chasetown exited the FA Cup to Leamington after a heart-breaking replay in the last round. They host Carlton Town in Northern One South East this weekend.