Manager Lee Spalding is Predicting a difficult tie against Thatcham Town
Swindon Supermarine manager Lee Spalding is relishing welcoming a handful of old players back to the Webbswood Stadium for this weekend’s FA Trophy first qualifying round match against Thatcham Town. Zak Westlake, Jack Alexander and Joe Selman are former Marine players from last season that are likely to make a return to their old stomping ground as the in-form Southern League Division One South side aim to knock Spalding’s men out on their own patch.
Thatcham have only lost once all season – that came in an FA Cup first qualifying round tie to Salisbury – and sit second in the league behind Frome Town. The Berkshire side were beaten 3-2 in the FA Cup, but Spalding – who watched the game as part of his pre-game scouting mission – said his weekend opponents were a shade unlucky to be on the wrong end of that result.
But Marine are in decent form themselves having lost just once in their previous six games in all competitions, though it was last weekend as they went down 2-0 to league leaders Tiverton Town. Spalding is not expecting the wheels to fall off his side after one loss, but says they should expect as stiffer test as any of their league rivals when Thatcham arrive on Saturday.
Spalding said: “It’s a potential banana skin because if everyone is not at their best, you run the risk of getting beat. “They’re going to be a decent side, make no mistake. I know a few of their players, they have a few who have been with us before and they have a couple of former Hungerford Town players, so they’ve got good players.
“If the mentality isn’t right and my players don’t have enough energy on the day, we might come unstuck. “We need to make sure we’re the team on the front foot, we start well to set the tone and we end up getting the result.”
The Marine manager has watched his side recover from a tricky run of results to begin picking up consecutive victories while playing attractive football. Spalding says one loss to a quality side will not change the view he holds of his team, and is excited to get back to winning ways in a competition that he certainly holds in high regard.
He said: “We’ve come off the back of a good run that was ended last weekend, but Tiverton is not an easy place to go – they’re top of the league for a reason. “We gave a good account of ourselves. It’s just a case of making sure we respond well this weekend in a home fixture. “The FA Trophy is a great competition to be in, it’s one that benefits the football club financially and it’s a good one for the club. “If we can do that, then you can look forward to what will hopefully be another good tie.”
On the injury front both defenders Matty Williams (groin) and Simon Downer (calf) are still missing and will hopefully return to the squad in a week to ten days but the good news is that midfielder Calvin Dinsley returns to the squad after a leg injury. Everybody else is fit and looking forward to a tough cup tie.
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