After five straight wins, confidence is high in the Hinckley AFC camp but manager Dale Belford knows the test that faces them in their attempt to make it six against Deeping Rangers.
The Buildbase FA Vase third round tie at St John’s Park pits against each other two sides who are doing well in their respective leagues as both sides seek to reach the last 32 of the competition.
But despite Hinckley’s run of wins, Belford knows the challenge Deeping will pose. He said: “We went and watched Deeping on Tuesday. We know it’s going to be tough, but we expect nothing less at this stage of the Vase.
“Any team that’s still in the competition will be a good side and Deeping are that, especially going forward. They’ve got some experienced players and it will be a big task to get something from the game, but one we’re really looking forward to.”
For Hinckley, it’s a second straight appearance at this stage while Deeping are in the third round for just the third time in their history.
But tomorrow’s visitors have had an impressive start to their United Counties League season playing at step five of the non-league pyramid, one level above Hinckley. They come into the game on the back of a 3-1 away win at Eynesbury Rovers on Tuesday.
Deeping sit fourth, but with games in hand on those sides above them, having won 13 of their 19 games thus far, drawing two and losing four. That’s an almost identical record to Hinckley, who have played and won one game fewer than tomorrow’s opponents in the Midland League First Division.
Scott Coupland (19) and Scott Mooney (16) have been their biggest threats in front of goal, but they have kept just two clean sheets in their last ten since losing centre back Charlie Ward to Lincoln United.
Hinckley will be forced into at least one change from last week’s win at Brocton, with Josh Willis cup tied having played for Atherstone Town earlier in the competition. But Bekir Halil is back from suspension, while a late decision will be made on the fitness of Jake Healy.
If the match is level after 90 minutes, extra time will be played. If the sides still can’t be separated after extra time, the tie will head to a replay to be played at Deeping’s Outgang Road ground.
The winners of the tie will receive £1,125 from the FA’s prize fund, while the losers pick up £375.
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