Alliance Cup: First Round Previews

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

INTERIM Flint Town United manager Aden Shannon insists the club’s poor form will have no bearing on their League Cup tie with rivals Holywell Town.

Appointed following Andy Holden’s departure earlier this week, Shannon takes charge of a beleaguered Silkmen side that has won just three of their nine league games to date.

The club’s temporary manager has demanded a ‘reaction’ from his underperforming players in tomorrow’s Flintshire derby at Halkyn Road.

Shannon occupied the same role at the club last season when Flint were beaten finalists in the cup competition and believes a victory could re-ignite their campaign.

He said: “In a way it’s the perfect game for us at this time.

“Nobody here should have to get themselves up for a derby game like this because we should all know what’s at stake in these derby games, particularly in the cup.

“Form goes out of the window in these matches and we know that a good result can restore some confidence to the squad.

“Discipline has been a bit of a problem for us this season and I want us to cut out the silly yellows and reds which have cost us point in the league so far.

“There’s always a lot of passion in our games against Holywell and we need to make sure we keep our heads out there.”

Holywell’s season so far stands in marked contrast to their local rivals, as Saturday’s 3-0 win at Queen’s Park kept them third in the standings.

Now six games unbeaten, Holywell continue to surpass expectations in such a keenly-contested division.

And with no league game scheduled until November 11, Wellmen manager John Haseldin has challenged his players to extend their positive run in the cup.

He said: “It’s another big game and a chance for us to keep that good run going in front of our fans.

“Obviously the league will always be our priority, but these kind of derby cup games are a massive bonus for the supporters.

“We’ve no league game the weekend after so we’ll be fully focused on winning an progressing in the competition.

“We’ve got a few players out of this one so we might look at bringing in a couple of the younger lads in and have a look at one or two of them.”

Striker Chris Budrys is likely to be available for Flint, while Phil Doran is suspended and midfielder Chris Li is an injury doubt.

Holywell are without  Brady McGilloway, with fellow midfielder Jack Pennington an injury doubt for the game.

Gresford Athletic boss Steve Halliwell will rotate his squad for their first round trip to Caersws.

Halliwell has overseen a return to winning ways in the league following a sluggish start, and will hand some of his peripheral squad players an opportunity to impress.

He said: “I’ve told the players that we’ll be making changes and the lads who have not had as much game time will get their chance.

“That’s not to say we’re taking the cup lightly, we want to go as far as we can in every competition.

“I expect to make five or six changes to the team that beat Rhyl last weekend and I’m confident we can go there and get a positive result.”

Goalkeeper Mike Platt should return to the starting XI alongside Jack Edwards, Aaron Edwards and Simon Smith. Forward Mikey Latham also goes straight into the Athletic squad following his arrival from Queen’s Park.

Andy Thomas has demanded more from his high-flying Airbus side when they host Ruthin tonight.

The leaders have won eight of their 10 league games, but Thomas is concerned by his side’s wastefulness.

A 5-0 thrashing of Caersws on Saturday did little to assuage that frustration, with Thomas insisting his side should have reached double figures in the game.

He said: “Results have been very good recently but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

“We’re dominating games and creating plenty of chances but we need to become more ruthless.

“I’m sure we’ll see that side of things improve as time goes on becuase it does feel like we’re growing in confidence each week.

“It’s a tough run of fixtures for us with three games in eight days but we’ve just got to take each game as it comes.

“We know Ruthin will come here looking to knock us out of the competition.”

Luke Busumbru, Aaron Bowen and John Davies are all likely to return for Airbus.

Elsewhere on Saturday, a Gwynedd derby sees holders Caernarfon Town visit Porthmadog, Llandudno Junction host Eddie Maurice-Jones’ Denbigh Town, while in-form Guilsfield go to Holyhead Hotspur.

Queen’s Park boss Martin Ford believes Sunday’s home clash with Rhyl can be a turning point for his struggling side.

Seven defeats from 10 league games have left the Alliance newcomers in disarray, their cause not helped by the departure of Mike Latham, pictured, to Gresford this week.

But Ford has remained positive throughout a difficult campaign and is optimistic of his side’s chances against managerless Rhyl.

He said: “It’ll be a tough game, but we’re looking forward to it.

“We owe Rhyl one after they beat us heavily at their place earlier in the season and I thought we created some decent chances against a strong Holywell side last weekend.

“Losing Mikey is a big blow for us, but the offer from Gresford was too good for him to turn down and we wish him well.

“We’ve got lads who can hopefully step up now and help us get a positive  cup result and help us turn a corner.”

Park are strengthened by the return of defender Andrew Elms, along with midfielder Nathan Buckley and forward Edgar Lima.

 

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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