Cinderford Town have had a week beyond their wildest dreams and manager Paul Michael has praised his side for their performance levels.
In the last seven days the Foresters have beaten three opponents from a higher level to advance in the FA Trophy (twice) and the GFA Senior Challenge Cup.
After a marathon 5-4 victory at Merthyr Town and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Potters Bar Town, Cinderford were drawn away to National League South side Havant & Waterlooville in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy next weekend and Michael admits that whilst he wanted a home draw, he is excited to see his squad test themselves against a strong opponent.
“I found out a little later on than everyone because of lessons and I must be honest my first reaction was a ‘sigh!’
Obviously you want a home draw but to travel a fair distance to a team about as good as you can get in the draw is a big ask for any side. Now that it’s done though and we can focus on the game, it’s a huge challenge for a club like ours.
You look at the gates, the leagues, the resources available to each club and you realise it’s a huge challenge but we said after the FA Cup tie at Brackley that if we get another go against a team at that level we will have a different approach and give it a real go so that’s what we will be doing,” Michael said.
Before the game at Havant next Saturday, Cinderford head to an AFC Totton side who will be looking to bring the Foresters back to Earth with a bump – but Michael believes his side will stay focused on the task at hand and will rightly prioritise the league this weekend.
“It’s a great game to look towards next week, however I don’t think keeping the focus before it will be an issue,” said Michael.
“All of the boys know the importance of the league and we’ve said we want to fight on all fronts for as long as possible and the only way to do that is take things, the cliche, one step at a time starting with Totton on Saturday,” Michael added.
On Tuesday night Cinderford knocked Gloucester City out of the County Cup with a 6-1 win at the Causeway. James Harding’s double and a Josh Hunt strike saw Town go in at the break 3-0 to the good.
Hunt grabbed a second after the interval before Craig Norman’s header made it 5-0. Zack Kotwica pulled one back for a Gloucester City side that included a number of U18s players, but they were put to the sword by a ruthless Cinderford side who completed the victory thanks to Harding’s third.
Cinderford Town travel to AFC Totton in the Southern League on Saturday 16th November; kick off 15:00