Belper Town boss Grant Black hoping for a ‘big crowd and big atmosphere’ for FA Cup clash with Witton Albion

Belper Town manager Grant Black
Belper Town manager Grant Black

Nailers boss Grant Black is calling on the town to come out in force to support his side’s FA Cup adventure.

Belper Town welcome higher-league opponents Witton Albion to the Raygar Stadium for a second-round qualifying tie on Saturday.

And Black is hoping for a bumper crowd to help his in-form and unbeaten Nailers side progress in the prestigious competition.

“We seem to feed off big crowds and big atmospheres,” said Black.

“Wherever we’ve been this year - where there has been that - the lads respond, so I really hope we get good numbers.

“Hopefully we get a good crowd on Saturday and the town comes out to show its support to help see us over the line.”

Witton have lost just once so far this season in the BetVictor NPL Premier Division.

But there is a feeling something special is brewing at Belper.

“The lads are buzzing,” said Black, following his side’s win at Worksop Town last weekend.

“The game could be in the FA Cup, Derbyshire Senior Cup, a friendly or a league game - they can’t wait for the games to come.

“The FA Cup is a special competition and it means even more for the lads because it gives them a chance to pit themselves against higher league opposition.

“Witton are a team doing well in the NPL Premier and it’s a marker to see where they’re at. We’re doing well at the level we’re at but can we step up again on Saturday?

“That’s what we’re looking for - a performance.

“We’re not expected to get anything from the game on Saturday, by people away from the club. In that sense, the pressure’s not on us, so we’ll see how Witton react to that.

Black added: “There’s no pressure from the outside looking in but these lads put pressure on themselves every week.

“They are a good set of lads who have high expectations of themselves and each other.

“They will feel like we can go and win that game on Saturday - we don’t have to do much with them to get them up for games.

“We’ve got a good blend of experience and youth this season and it’s working well for us.

“We always encourage them to go out and express themselves in the right areas of the pitch in any game or competition.”

Belper extended their unbeaten run this season with a 2-1 win over the managerless Tigers last weekend.

“If it had been six or seven then I don’t think anyone could have complained about it,” said Black.

“We missed a lot of good chances - really good chances - we should have been converting.

“The goal they scored was a mistake from us as well. It was a very dominant performance from us.

“We created 12 good chances and limited them to one shot in the first half and one shot in the second, which should have been saved.

“It was a convincing performance from us and that’s a tough place to go.”

The result means the Nailers have won four and drawn one of their opening five NPL South-East Division games.

They’ve also seen off Sporting Khalsa and Alvechurch in previous rounds of the FA Cup to get to this stage.

“There’s a positive atmosphere around the ground and around the club,” said Black.

“The dressing room is buoyant - we’ve got a really good set of lads.

“We’re confident going forward and what we can achieve this season.”