Belper Town manager Peter Duffield admits that the coming week is a huge one for the Nailers after his side could only draw in their first league game against Coalville Town last Saturday.
He said:“The weight of expectation weighed heavily on the players,” he said, “we have had an excellent pre-season and we really wanted to get three points from our first league, but if I’m honest, we were grateful to get the one after finishing with ten men.”
“I know much more was expected of us but after a nervy start we played some really good football and Jordan Ball put us ahead, but the goal we conceded was nothing short of comical and after that we seemed to lose some of our edge.”
“The goal they got was farcical and should never have happened, and the players involved should have known better to have let a situation like that happen, but to be fair we don’t see many mistakes like that nowadays.”
The Nailers lost defender Michael Simpkins mid way through the second half and Peter Duffield conceded that he could have no argument with the referee’s decision.
“He did what any player would do when he sees a team mate under three or four of the opposition players, and he went to help him out.”
“But there are ways of doing it without risking being sent off and Simmo accepts that and apologised to me after the game, so as far as I’m concerned the matter is finished with.”
Duffield thought that he saw the best of his team when they were reduced to 10 men and that they could have sneaked a win in the end.
“We showed great spirit when we could have given up and lost the game,” he said, “I was impressed with the way be battled back and although they had pace up front which caught us out a couple of times, I thought we had more desire in the last 25 minutes that at any time in the game.”
The Nailers will be able to call upon the services of Ashley Longstaff for this week’s games against Brigg Town and Holbrook Sports, and Duffield believes that when he gets his two ‘talisman’ strikers back playing together the whole club will receive a boost.”
“Ash has returned from his honeymoon and is available again and we still have the Division’s best striker in Jon Froggatt to come back too,” he said.
“Froggy’s been nursing a knee injury and at the moment I don’t know when he will be available again, but when we see them both lining up together it will be a massive boost for us all.”
One of Duffield’s key summer signings Ryan Mallon is still nursing an injury sustained in the pre-season friendly against North Ferriby United.
“It’s been very disappointing for me and certainly for Ryan that we have only seen him play for 30 minutes as I was really pleased to get him to the club because I feel he will be an exceptional player.”
“All I can do his wait for him to get back to full fitness and then will have a valuable addition to the squad.”
Holbrook Sports are waiting for the Nailers this weekend as for the third time in four seasons the two local rivals have been drawn against each other in the FA Cup Preliminary Round.
The Brookies have come out on top much to the embarrassment of Nailers supporters in the previous two encounters, and there are certainly no guarantees that Belper will avoid the same fate this time around.
Sports have already claimed one scalp in this year’s competition having disposed of Market Deeping, ironically the team that eliminated Tommy Taylor’s Nailers side at the same stage last year.
If a replay is required then it will take place on Tuesday 28th August at Christchurch Meadow, which would mean that Belper’s Bank Holiday Monday fixture at home to Sheffield FC (3pm) would be postponed.