Bishop’s Stortford boss Steve Smith admits that it will be a bonus if his side return from Saturday’s trip to Hungerford with a point.
“Hungerford are on fire” he said., “They’re ubeaten in 12 games and they’ve scored 13 goals in their past four matches, so it will be tough and anything we take from there is a bonus.”
Centre half Rian Bray goes straight into the squad after signing on loan from Millwall, while midfielder Adam Everitt will be available for selection after serving all three games of his two-match suspension, with the Herts Charity Cup semi-final not counting as part of his ban.
Having won promotion from the Southern League last season, the Crusaders have made a great start to life in the National League and are currently fourth in the table with 50 points from 28 games.
They aided Blues’ relegation fight on Monday evening with a crushing 5-0 win against Truro City which extended their unbeaten league run to 12 games, during which time they have taken 28 points.
When the sides met at the ProKit UK Stadium in August, it was another tale of missed chances as Blues were unable to build on Chace O’Neill’s first half goal, and went down 2-1.
Their FA Trophy run was similar to Blues’ falling at the first hurdle with a 1-0 home loss against Gosport Borough, while in the FA Cup they won 1-0 at Basingstoke Town before suffering a surprise 4-1 home loss against Ryman League Leiston.
Former Blue Liam Enver-Marum made his debut as a substitute for the Crusaders on Monday as he continued his quest to play for every club in Vanarama South.
The fly in the ointment for Hungerford is the uncertainty surrounding the necessary improvements needed at their Bullpit Lane ground. While it seems far more likely that Poole Town will face demotion at the end of the season, the Crusaders face an uphill battle to get their stadium up to the standard necessary to take part in the play-offs, if they qualify.
The other issue regarding their stadium may be the note on their website which states “Riding Bicycle’s [sic], scooters and playing football are not permitted around the ground. “