September 23rd, 2016

Injury concerns ahead of big Vase clash

ALVECHURCH’S strength in depth – and the healing hands of physio Paul Millward – will be tested as they look to create FA Vase history on Saturday.

The Churchmen ended a 17-day break without a fixture by chalking up a ninth successive win on Tuesday, defeating hosts Westfields 3-0 with goals from Josh March, Jordan Nadat and Karl Edwards.

However, victory came at a cost with defender Rich Huckfield and midfielder Connor Deards suffering niggles to join Sam Williams on the injury list ahead of Saturday’s Vase third round clash at Midland Premier rivals Walsall Wood.

Leigh Downing (work) and Nadat (cup-tied) are also unavailable as Church bid to reach the last 32 for the first time.

Manager Ian Long said: “Our physio Paul has got his hands full. We’ve got three or four injuries that we will be waiting on.

“It’s been frustrating having so many games called off in the last few weeks so it was important we got the game in midweek and I was pleased with how we played, but the downside was picking up a few injuries.”

Alvechurch have already beaten Walsall Wood in the league, with Downing scoring a penalty winner, but the hosts have a fondness for the Vase, having reached the last eight in 2013 and the last 32 last term.

Long knows Alvechurch will need to be at their best for their biggest match of the season so far.

“It’s a massive game for us,” he said. “Walsall Wood have got a good record in the Vase and they beat Holbeach in the last round which was an excellent result.

“It was a close encounter in the league and we edged it with a penalty. Mark Swann has had the team together for some time and they will be a strong test. We will need to be on our game from the first whistle.

“We are due to be on our Christmas night out on Saturday so hopefully we can go out in high spirits after getting a positive result.”

On Monday, assuming no Vase replay, Alvechurch head to Coventry Sphinx for their rearranged Polymac Packaging League Cup tie. The winners will be away to Hereford in round three.