BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Paul Smith has urged his players to not take struggling Ellistown & Ibstock United too lightly in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase this weekend.
After almost a fortnight away from action, Sporting take on their East Midlands Counties League counterparts on Saturday in a tournament in which they have always reached the first round proper.
The fixture had been initially been arranged to be played at Terrace Road in Leicestershire but it has since been reversed and will be played at the Victoria Ground with the winners facing West Midlands (Regional) League outfit Tipton Town in the next round on Saturday, September 24.
United have had a dismal start to their campaign, losing all eight of their league games and scored only three times while unbeaten Sporting sit second in the Midland League Division One table.
And after suffering FA Cup heartache at Rugby Town last month, Smith is confident his side has what it takes to go far in the Vase.
However, he told the Standard his players cannot let complacency creep in against a side which could pose a threat in a one-off fixture.
“Complacency will be the building blocks of the team talk because Ellistown have not had a great start to their season but in a cup game they’ve got nothing to lose,” Smith said.
“They will be coming to us and having a real good go to see where it takes them so its crucial we do not take Saturday’s game for granted.
“As I have always said, we have built a really strong squad this season and if they do their job and do exactly what they are told, they will go far.
“We were unlucky to get knocked out of the FA Cup but the FA Vase provides us with a great opportunity to progress in a national tournament.”
Ahead of Saturday’s fixture Smith will be without midfielders Robbie Bunn and Will Tibbetts while Ahmed Ali, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, is fully fit.
“We’ve had a good team bonding session in Manchester and I’m a firm believer in having these kind of things as it keeps the group tight,” Smith added.
“Ideally we would have liked a game over the weekend but I’m looking forward to Saturday’s game and hopefully we can produce the goods.
“And with the fact it’s now being played at home we’re hoping for a bumper crowd.”