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DANNY GRAINGER: Trophy test will be very tough

First-team manager Danny Grainger says tomorrow’s Buildbase FA Trophy trip to Pontefract Collieries will be ‘very tough.’

Reds head down to Yorkshire off the back of three successive league wins for some cup competition rest-bite.

That could either be seen as either a frustrating momentum-stopper or a welcome change of course, and at last night’s training session, Grainger gauged that conundrum, saying: “A bit of both to be honest.

“It’s always nice to have a change of scenery, a different focus.

“We’ve always said our bread and butter is to win the league and get promoted. If we get a good cup run in there with some rotation then I’d be more than happy,” he continued.

“It gives the boys a chance to get a few minutes and welcome back a few injured lads.

“It’s a bit of a break just before we got into a really busy and important period in the league.”

Our last taste of cup action came last month at Radcliffe, as a late comeback saw us crash out of the FA Cup.

On whether that bitter disappointment will be play into the match at the Football Factory Stadium, he admitted: “The FA Cup always throws up surprises and, unfortunately, we’ll remember it for the wrong reasons.

“The lads had a good run last season when we fell short to Farsley Celtic at home and this Saturday, we’ll be looking to get a result to, hopefully, progress to the next round this year.”

Onto tomorrow now and it will be first time we’ve faced Pontefract since a New Year’s Day defeat which followed our 2-1 win last August Bank Holiday Monday.

However, Collieries have had a huge squad turnover this term and have former Hartlepool United winger Andy Monkhouse at helm, who our boss and Steven Rudd are already acquainted with.

“Ruddy and I get on really well with him, he’s someone we speak to now and then,” Grainger said.

“I think he’s trying to build something there and things don’t happen overnight.”

Having collected just two draws from their opening five games, Monkhouse’s men suffered a 6-2 loss at Colne on Tuesday and our boss warned of the threat they could face as they look to avenge that.

“He’ll be looking for a reaction and I’m more than sure he’ll get it,” affirmed Grainger.

“I’d be very disappointed as manager if you didn’t get a reaction after a 2-6 defeat.

“Whether he makes wholesale changes or wants to see what those lads are all about, we’ll have to see.

“We know it’s going to be a very tough game and the boys will have to be right up for it to progress to the next round.”

The squad that travels to West Yorkshire will welcome back at least one familiar face in Jordan Little, and Grainger had some more information on our two other absentees.

“Jordan should be back involved in the matchday squad, Tinners is touch and go but Robbie will definitely miss out,” he revealed.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the likes of Cass [Ceiran Casson] and Dav [Symington] into the squad again and we’re really excited for what’ll hopefully we be a positive weekend.”

Finally, Tuesday for us was a rare total off-night for Reds as the team had the evening to relax.

It was a decision the manager was pondering in the days leading up to last weekend’s 2-0 win over Mossley, which he explained here.

“I think sometimes the mental and psychological side of it can actually be more beneficial than the physical side of it.

“It’s nice to have a break away from Saturday-Tuesday. You think ‘Can you give them that ease down, forget about football?,” he added.

“They could enjoy the weekend knowing they have an extra day off, a night at home to really get excited for coming back on Thursday and being ready for Saturday.”

Kick-off tomorrow is at 3pm and tickets are only available at the turnstiles with Pontefract having a maximum attendance of 400.

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