Heath: Cup chance to blow off cobwebs
MANAGER Billy Heath says bad weather has forced a change in his plans as North Ferriby begin their defence of the Doodson Sport League Cup in Sheffield.
Heath originally planned to give his younger players a chance to shine in the tie.
However, as the Villagers have not played since January 5, Heath said he will be fielding a full-strength squad instead for tonight's twice-postponed clash.
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Heath said: "My ideas have changed because when we were originally down to play the tie, it was an opportunity to look at the younger players and see how they fare against a team from Division One South.
"It's three weeks since we played a game, so we will be taking a full squad.
"It's a different proposition now, we need to blow the cobwebs off, but it's given us a break and recharged our batteries.
"We played a lot of football when other people were off – we had four games over Christmas.
"We were looking jaded, especially the last home game against Kendal as we'd had four games in 10 days."
Despite the bad weather and five successive league and cup postponements, Heath said his side have missed only one training session.
That has maintained their fitness levels, but the Villagers' boss is anxious to regain some match sharpness ahead of Saturday's home league clash against Grantham.
Ferriby top the EvoStik Premier Division by four points from Hednesford Town, who have two games in hand.
And Heath said although he plans to field a full-strength squad tonight, the club's priorities have not changed since the start of the season.
"We obviously want to win every game we compete in, but we know what our priority is, and has been from day one, and that's not changed," he explained.
"If we can get the game on it's a great chance to dust off the cobwebs and get back into the swing of it, but the league game is paramount. We have three months left, we need to keep the hard work up and if we keep the players fit then we are in a great position."
Ferriby are the cup holders after beating Rushall Olympic 4-1 after extra time last April and are hoping to become only the third club to retain the trophy.
"I don't think many teams have retained the cup so it would be nice," Heath said.
"Maybe if we get through to the next round against Blyth Spartans we can blood some younger players, but, as I say, the priority is promotion."
Ferriby's two new signings are set to make their debuts tonight.
Oliver Banks has arrived from Scarborough and Jason Stokes from Boston.
Definitely missing is Dean Lisles, after breaking his ankle in a car crash, and keeper Adam Nicklin, who is serving his match ban.
Steve Gardner is not available tonight, but will be free to play on Saturday following the end of his loan spell at Frickley.