Double test as Hucknall face cup revenge mission against Eastwood

Hucknall Town FC - double showdown and revenge mission
Hucknall Town FC - double showdown and revenge mission

Hucknall Town begin a double showdown with Central Midlands League title rivals Eastwood Community with a revenge mission this weekend

Hucknall face Eastwood at home in the League Cup this Saturday before they return a week later on league business and boss Andy Graves, a big admirer of the Badgers, said: “They knocked us out when we were holders and they are current holders, so it would be nice to repay that. But it will be a tough game.

“I have been impressed with Eastwood this season.

“Jez Corthorn has obviously taken the Rolls Royce lads up there, and they’ve picked up other lads and are playing some decent football.

“I think they are the best team we’ve played.

“They were on their home pitch, which suits them, but I think they played some really good football against us when we played in the league.

“But back on a muddy pitch it might be slightly different.”

Hucknall pushed themselves back into the title hunt with a 3-0 home win over Pinxton last weekend after being rocked by their 2-1 defeat at rivals Sherwood Colliery the week before.

Blidworth Colliery then did Hucknall and others a favour by winning 2-1 at Sherwood Colliery on Tuesday night.

“It was a favour to all of us up there,” said Graves.

“But I have said there will be many changes before the end of the season looking at everybody’s fixtures.

“All I can say is forget it, let them get on with it and we’ll just see what we’ve got at the end.

“It’s about how many points we can get, that’s all we can worry about – forget everybody else.

“We are back on track after the shenanigans of the week before which were out of our control and down to the officials.

“I’ve said all I am going to say on that or I will get into trouble.”

He continued: “First half against Pinxton we just couldn’t get going.

“Let’s be honest they came with a game plan not to let us get our momentum going.

“They slowed the game down as much as they possibly could which didn’t help us getting into our stride.

“Second half I made a double substitution and it had the desired effect.

“I have said that from now until the end of the season, as long as we are getting the points, performances, until the pitches improve a bit, can go on the back burner.

“Getting the points is the most important thing.

“It’s a shame it’s the cup first against Eastwood as you want to try to get the momentum going in the league.

“To be honest I would swap three points in the league for the cup any day.

“But we’re in both competitions so we’ll obviously try to win it.”

Hucknall complete a quartet of home games for the month of February with a chance for revenge over Swanwick Pentrick Road after a 3-0 defeat there last month.

Graves said: “After the Eastwood games, then we’ve got the Swanwick game on our pitch – obviously a bigger pitch which gives us the advantage this time.

“But they are no mugs, and as proved last night in the Blidworth/Sherwood Colliery game, there are no easy games in this league.

“I keep saying it. If you are not on your game, you have players missing or for whatever reason, you can get beaten by teams further down. It is very competitive.”

With a full squad available, manager Graves admitted he may rotate his players for this weekend’s cup visit of Eastwood Community.

“This weekend at the moment I’ve probably got every single player available, so there’s going to be one or two that can’t even get on the bench,” he said.

“Now, with it being a cup game, whether I change things up, I’m not sure yet.

“Jamie Crawford came on and scored a hat-trick last weekend. He’d lost his confidence a bit, but he’s had a few games off the bench and now looks like his old self and how he was playing at the beginning of the season. So he might be in.

“Adam Nelson has been on the bench for a while, but I am toying with the idea of giving him a start with it being the cup.

“He is a good squad lad and probably deserves it. So I am going to upset some people, I know that for sure. That comes with the territory.”

He addded: “I said to them last week before the game we have to all be in it together.

“If I rotate I am happy with who I put on. I’m not going to just rely on one or two lads all the time.

“We are in it together and that’s the way we’ll do it.