By Jamie Arrowsmith 12/01 Updated: 19/01 16:56
FAIRFIELD Villa will bid to secure a place in the last eight of the Smedley Crooke Cup tomorrow when they entertain Midland Combination Division One rivals FC Glades Sporting.
Paul Oakes’ men go into the contest on the back of a 2-2 Division One home draw against Archdale ‘73 on Saturday and will set up a local derby at Bromsgrove Sporting in the quarter-finals if they are successful.
“Although they are sitting just below us in the table at the moment there are a lot of good, evenly matched sides in this division and I fully expect them to give us a tough game,” Oakes said.
“We lost 4-2 against them when we played at their place in the league earlier in the season but we missed so many chances that day it was untrue.
“Our team will have a very different look to it to the one that played that day though and, even though they have picked up recently with some good results, I am confident and we will be up for it.”
Villa, who sit tenth in the table - four places above tomorrow’s opponents, led twice against Archdale but were pegged back on both occasions, the second of which was with the help of a highly controversial penalty.
Ryan Sproston continued his good goalscoring form to put the Recreation Ground side ahead but Archdale made it 1-1 when a shot bounced awkwardly in front of keeper Owen Hancox and into the net.
James Turk restored the advantage on the stroke of half time with a superb curling finish from the edge of the box but the second half spot kick gave the visitors a point.
“The game struggled to get going really but we were the better side and should have come out on top,” Oakes said.
“We scored two very good goals but unfortunately a bobble over Owen and a penalty that everybody wondered what had been given for has cost us.
“Our performances in the last three games have been good, even if the results have not been great, and hopefully it shows we are moving in the right direction.
“We have unearthed a few really good players as the squad restructuring continues and hopefully we can keep everybody together.”
Two players Oakes picked out for particular praise were Saturday’s goalscorers, Sproston and Turk.
Sproston started the season in fine form but was then forced to sit on to the sidelines with pneumonia. Turk is a recent addition to the side but Oakes said he has been impressed with him from the start.
“James has only played four times for us but has been man of the match each time,” Oakes said.
“He really has been a find for us, he’s settled in brilliantly and scored a fantastic goal on Saturday.
“Ryan has a fantastic left foot and his goalscoring record is phenomenal.
“He seems to get incredible power into his shots without much backlift and is quickly getting back to his best after his illness.”
Oakes will not be able to call on Turk’s services tomorrow though as he faces a couple of weeks out with a muscle problem. Ben Timbrell will also miss out through injury whilst Martin Keight is cup-tied.
Jamie Hatfield and Martin Slevin face late fitness checks.
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