September 28th, 2016

Long calls for referee to be strong-willed in Hereford encounter

Updated: 4:57 pm, Mar 24, 2016

IAN Long says his players – and the referee – need to show they are up for the task in Alvechurch’s biggest game in 30 years.

Long insists Easter Monday’s first versus second contest against Hereford will not decide who will be crowned champions, with four weeks of the Midland League Premier Division season still to play.

However, there is no hiding from its importance as Lye Meadow witnesses a sell-out 1,500 crowd.

Hereford will have 900 fans to Alvechurch’s 600 and Long says he hopes the referee will be strong-willed in a cauldron of anticipation.

“Hereford do seem to have had a couple of ‘soft’ penalties and we certainly felt that was the case in our League Cup game against them,” said Long.

“It can be intimidating for refs. I hope we are not talking about any controversial decisions after Monday’s game.

“In some ways, it’s David v Goliath. We’re still the challengers, the minnows if you look at the size of the clubs, but it’s about who deals with the situation and plays to the best of their abilities.”

Before then, however, Alvechurch welcome Heanor Town to Lye Meadow on Saturday in a game which Long says they need to win.

“The focus is always on the next game and that’s Heanor,” said Long. “We need to be 100 per cent concentrated on Saturday’s game.”

Alvechurch had to shuffle their defensive ranks on Tuesday in the 4-1 home win against Rocester after Mark Smith injured his ankle.

Andy Parsons, who was not risked because of a calf niggle, and Luke Paskin will be fit, while Richard Huckfield, who has been getting games at Wolves Sporting, also comes into contention.

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