Town look to cups to escape relegation worries

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A DOUBLE dose of cup fever is set to take Hucknall Town’s minds off their increasingly cash-strapped battle against relegation.

Town can forget all about their woes in the Evo-Stik League, Premier Division with two quarter-final clashes in a matter of days.

First up is a mouthwatering trip to big-spending divisional rivals Bradford Park Avenue in the league cup on Saturday (February 26 kick-off 3 pm).

And next Tuesday (March 1, 7.45 pm) comes a Notts FA Senior County Cup tie at home to Greenwood Meadows, who play four levels lower than Town in the East Midlands Counties League, Premier Division.

The Yellows are praying that success in the cups will also ease the club’s cash woes — as assistant manager Gary Stones lifted the lid on the financial constraints he and boss Tommy Brookbanks are under.

Speaking after the battling 2-2 draw against Chasetown at Watnall Road on Tuesday night, Stones said: “To be fair, on our budget, we have no chance of winning these kind of games. We have probably one of the lowest budgets in the league.

“Realistically, we do well to get a result against teams like Chasetown. Their budget is quite considerably higher.

“We have been in for a number of new players in the past couple of weeks but we cannot compete with the figures they want, or are on. Steve Chaplin has gone back to Carlton Town where he is on a lot more money. And they are a division below us.

“We are firefighting at the moment.”

As reported previously by the Dispatch, Town have managed to recruit one notable new sigining — former professional striker David Graham. But to underline how much Town are struggling, Stones revealed that Brookbanks and physio Stuart Scott have dipped into their own pockets to finance the deal.

“They are contributing quite a lot of money to his wages,” disclosed Stones. “Our budget does not allow for that type of player.”

The Yellows also wanted to sign Massiah McDonald, the Carlton striker who scored against them in Hucknall’s 5-4 league cup win earlier in the month. But Stones said The Yellows could not get near his wages.

“We keep getting slated on the online fans’ forum,” he went on. “But a lot of fans need to realise what we are up against. They do not realise the state the club is in.

“I haven’t been paid since October. That’s not a problem to me because I do it for love of the club. But we are putting a lot of work in just to keep the club afloat.”

Stones admitted the cup games would be a welcome distraction for the players from the struggles in the league.

“It is an exciting period for the club, especially the Senior Cup,” said Stones. “I am looking forward to it.

“Bradford will be a tough match but we can go there and win. Against Greenwood, we are expected to win. Hopefully it should be a little bit easier being at home.”

At Bradford, Town will be without the cup-tied Graham. Martin Ball is also struggling with a hamstring problem, while striker Tyeisse ‘TJ’ Nightingale is banned for both cup games.