Have Hucknall the recipe for CML glory?

Hucknall manager Andy Graves and assistant Philip Henry.
Hucknall manager Andy Graves and assistant Philip Henry.

After an impressive pre-season Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves believes he knows the recipe for success as they head to Mickleover RBL on Saturday for the big Central Midlands League South kick-off (3pm).

Graves know his club’s past means they are always a scalp for everyone and, after last year’s fourth place finish, he insisted: “Every game we’ve got to be up for it.

“We have to do what we didn’t do last season which is take our chances in tight games and not underestimate anybody.

“We want to try to get off to a good start like we have done that the last couple of seasons and keep up the momentum we’ve built up in pre-season.

“I don’t think we’ve had a pre-season like this before and I’ve been pleased with the resilience we’ve shown.”

Mickleover finished mid-table last time around and Graves said: “They are always a tough side up at their ground. They had some very bright young lads last year that made it hard for us.

“Again we probably should have made our lives a lot easier than we did and we know we can’t go there complacent.

“We are all ready and we will see what Saturday brings.”

Last weekend’s final friendly saw a depleted Hucknall draw 0-0 at home with Redcar.

“It was another good performance and we had to use eight reserve players during the game due to holidays and weddings,” said Graves.

“It was just unfortunate it all came at the same weekend as we’d probably have liked to have used the game to play our starting side.

“But we were pleased with the lads that came in and it shows the squad has depth, which we will need over the season. I know I can dip in there if need be.

“We dominated possession but there was a bit of deja-vu of our Achille’s heel of not being able to finish as we did miss some good chances.”

He added: “We have heard that Greenwood Meadows have already dropped out so the league is running light again, losing those two fixtures.

“But it’s going to be a tough season. You hear things about the other clubs and what they’ve done. I think Pinxton will probably be a different kettle of fish to what they were last season if the rumours are right in who they have signed.”

On team selection for Saturday, Graves said: “Gordon Phillips has been out injured for a few weeks, but tells me his knee is feeling good now.

“He is going to have a run and try some five-a-side. Whether I risk him or not I’m not sure.

“Shaun Smith, the striker we’ve got in, wasn’t available for the last two games, but he should be available and I will have a few headaches for Saturday as to who will partner him up front and who features at full back.”