HELLENIC LEAGUE: Fairford depleted for Floodlit Cup semi
FAIRFORD are without their two favoured centre-backs for tonight’s Hellenic League Floodlit Cup semi-final against visitors Ardley.
Ash Taylor pulled out in the warm-up of Saturday’s game against Cricklade while Richard Stubbs was forced off midway through the first half in the 1-0 win.
Luigi Hernandez and Kyle Murdoch could step in this evening but the situation is far from ideal for boss Paul Braithwaite as he attempts to mastermind victory against the higher-division opponents.
However, Braithwaite was bullish when questioned about his team’s prospects at Cinder Lane.
“It’s not ideal but we’ve got a squad and whoever has come in has done as well in the past,” he said.
“Ardley are a quality side and are as good as they come, but our chances are as equal as theirs.
“Cups tend to be a little bit different and I know our players’ desire to get to the final is massive.
“Some teams don’t take the cup competitions that seriously but once you get to a semi-final you have to look at it as a big game.
“For us as a club after what we’ve been through in the last three or four years, it’s a good thing.”
Braithwaite completed the signing of Jack Clifton from New College yesterday and the striker will go straight into the squad for this evening’s clash.
While Fairford face a difficult task against the Oxfordshire side, they should be confident having gone on a run of eight league games without defeat alongside their cup exploits.
Elsewhere, Cirencester’s hopes of sneaking into the Southern League Division One South & West play-off spots will face a stern examination.
Brian Hughes’ men make the trip to Wales to face high-flying Merthyr, who will be smarting following their 2-1 defeat to Paulton on Saturday.
Merthyr have a strong record at Penydarren Park having only lost there once in the league since October.