Thursday, February 24, 2005

Turner wants result on the day

Hereford United travel to Eastwood Town in the F.A.Trophy fifth round tomorrow afternoon. Eastwood are the lowest positioned side left in the competition; they are in Unibond Leauge Division One, three leagues down the non-league pyramid from Hereford.

The Bulls have already defeated Accrington Stanley, after a replay, and Hyde United in the previous rounds and are clear favourites to progress through to the quarter-final and receive £6,000 for doing so. However there will be no pressure on Eastwood, which may play to their advantage in their quest to acheive a giant killing of sorts.

The Bulls are certain to make a number of changes to the side that was knocked out of the GLS Conference Cup on Tuesday evening, but it will be interesting to see if trialist Kyle Patterson is in the squad. It would be a good opportunity for the background staff to have another look at the young attacker.

Hereford will have Jamie Pitman out with a calf injury, but Graham Hyde will step into his place in the midfield. Lee Mills is in contention for a starting place as he returned to the side in midweek. The experienced target man has been hampered with an ankle injury since December, and didn't look in the best of shape against Northwich either.

However the Eastwood manager, Bryan Chambers, has watched the Bulls and suggested that as the Badgers "have a lot of big lads, we will cause them all sorts of problems from set pieces." If Turner takes the threat seriously he may well include Mills for at least part of the game.

Hereford's other doubt is over the fitness of Adam Stansfield, who aggravated his ankle injury last Saturday against Canvey Island. Stansfield has been struggling with knocks lately and may well be left out as a precaution. This will leave a space for either David Brown or Lee Mills to fill in the attack alongside Danny Carey-Bertram.

Graham Turner has told BBC H&W that he hopes that the result will be decided on the day as he does not want any extra games to add to an already tight schedule. The season is well into its second half and as the players begin to tire, extra games is the last thing that the manager wants.

"We're already up to, nearly all the midweeks. If we make any further progress in the F.A. Trophy then we're going to be congested. It's conceivable that we might be even playing Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in at least one week before the end of the season."

He is also concerned that the state of the Eastwood pitch won't suit the Bulls style of football.

"Reports are suggesting thast it's going to be a very difficult game. First of all conditions up there won't be too conducive to playing good football.

"I understand there is a fair bit of slope on the pitch but it's been described as a throw back to the fifties when there used to be a diamond up the middle of the pitch without a blade of grass."