PAUL SMITH has labelled Bromsgrove Sporting’s league game this weekend as ‘even bigger’ as last Sunday’s FA Vase quarter-final against Buckland Athletic.
Second-half goals from Liam Spink and Chris Lloyd ensured the Rouslers booked their place in the last four of the Vase on Sunday in front a new club record attendance of 2,984 at the Victoria Ground.
Northern Counties East League outfit Cleethorpes Town await in the semi-finals, with the first leg to be played at the Victoria Ground on Saturday, March 11, with the return leg the following Saturday (March 18).
And after beating Barnt Green Spartak 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup on Wednesday night, Sporting boss Smith has his eyes firmly set on the Midland League Division One clash against Heath Hayes tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm KO).
“The players don’t need to be told how important the league games are as they understand that already,” he said.
“Cleethorpes is going to be a tough game but the squad I have assembled is a Step Five squad and is more than capable of winning both legs.
“However, it’s paramount that FA Vase talk is put to bed for now.
“Winning the league is the holy grail as it’s what we set out to do. Everything else right now is a bonus for us.
“Every side looks at us as a big scalp to take so it would be an unbelievable achievement to win this league.
“Saturday is a massive game for us and in my eyes, it’s even bigger than last Sunday’s Vase quarter-final.”
Ahmed Ali, Reece Hewitt, Cowley, Wills and Robbie Bunn, all of whom were rested for Wednesday’s cup game at Barnt Green, are expected to make a return to the squad on Saturday.
Forward Luke Shorthouse is also in line for a start while Kidderminster Harriers keeper Jon Brown has been signed on loan for a further month with first choice goalkeeper Chris Jay still out.
“Chris knows himself how disappointed I am at the fact he missed the Vase game, especially after he came through training sessions the week before,” Smith added.
“He’d been keeping me in the loop every day, saying he was fine but on Friday morning at 9.30 I received a text message from him saying he was sorry and that he wasn’t fit enough.
“I was bitterly disappointed as I only had such a short time to get something sorted as it meant our under-21 keeper was in line for a start in the club’s biggest game.
“Luckily I managed to get the contacts book out, drive to Tamworth to get the forms signed so Nathan Vaughan’s transfer could be processed by the FA in time for Sunday.”
Vaughan, who joined from National League outfit Solihull Moors for just the one game, has now rejoined former club Worcester City.
After Saturday, Sporting travel to Racing Club Warwick on Tuesday (7.45pm KO).