Hereford United host Eastwood Town in the F.A. Trophy fifth round replay at Edgar Street this evening, following the 1-1 draw at Coronation Park on Saturday. The winners will be rewarded with £6,000 and a home tie against Hucknall Town in the quarter finals.
Graham Turner may choose to change his side around, with the weekend Conference fixture against Morecambe in mind. New signing Brian Smikle is expected to start, giving him a chance to impress the home crowd for the first time and try to force himself into the side for next weekend. Lee Mills will be in contention for a starting place after coming on at Eastwood and winning the all important penalty, that saved United from embarrasment.
Hereford will be expecting to dump their lower league opposition out of the trophy on a much better surface and probably in better conditions than the ones experienced on Saturday; conditions which suited Eastwood much more than United. With this in mind, Graham Turner may decide to leave a couple of first teamers out and give them a rest, allowing a few fringe players a run out.
Hereford were saved by Tony James' late penalty last weekend and will not want to have to over come any similarities to that game. The Badgers will surely put up a good fight at Edgar Street, but with the superior quality and fitness the Bulls really should have no problems in progressing to the quarter finals.
Meanwhile Eastwood Town chairman, Keith Smith, is hopeful of victory this evening but insists his side will not be thinking about an impending F.A. Trophy 1/4 final with Hucknall until Hereford have been taken care of.
"It's a great tie on paper as we're only 5 miles apart, but we're not thinking about it yet," said Smith.
Smith is reported to be still smarting after watching his side go painfully close to knocking Hereford out of the F.A. Trophy. The Badgers were 1-0 up until the closing stages of the 5th round tie thanks to Deon Meikle before Tony James salvaged a replay with a late penalty.
"Only one man in the ground thought it was a penalty! But we still believe we can go through," said the Eastwood chairman.