Joint Belper Town boss Ant Danyluk believes his side are well equipped to see off Evo-Stik NPL South newcomers Alvechurch in the FA Trophy preliminary round at Christchurch Meadow on Saturday (3pm).
Belper had won three games in a row before tonight’s tough trip to leaders Cleethorpes and Danylyk said: “It will be a really tough game for the lads. Alvechurch are a strong side.
“They have come up into our league, promoted last year, and have shown they have the resources. They have coped well in our league so far.
“They are a direct side and very competitive – similar really to the last couple of games we’ve actually played.
“Bedworth are a direct side and don’t play much football, the same with Carlton.
“So as long as we can defend as well as we have been doing these last three games, we can go into the game with confidence.
“Obviously we are the home side as well so we will be looking to take the game to Alvechurch.
“They have had some good results and got into the top half of the table. They also had a decent FA Cup run going but lost last weekend to Buxton.
“They have been together a long time which is also a bonus.”
The sides meet again in their first league encounter two weeks later.
Belper, already out the FA Cup, are hoping to build a Trophy run.
“We’d rank this competition the same as the FA Cup – a chance for revenue for the club and a prestigious trophy,” said Danylyk.
“If you can have a good run in it you can come across some good sides – some better opposition you can test yourselves against.”
After a slow start to the season, Danylyk has been delighted with recent results, the third win in a row seeing the Nailers come from behind to beat Carlton Town 2-1 last weekend.
“It’s been a big improvement from the lads and I think we’re going in the right direction which is important,” he said.
“It’s been a slowish start from us but it seems we’ve turned a bit of a corner now.
“I was disappointed that we started lethargically on Saturday against Carlton and never really got going until they scored.
“But that seemed to take the shackles off us a little bit and we relaxed a bit and started to play then. We scored two good goals on the day so I was really pleased with that.
“The three points was the most important thing.”
He added: “We were able to name an unchanged side for the first time this season which was good – we’ve not had that luxury before with unavailability and injuries.
“It helps with consistency and the fact we’ve started to get good results shows it’s linked.”
Danylyk believes the camaraderie on a coach journey back from a postponed game at Cleethorpes last month has helped spark the run of form.
“When our game was called off a couple of Saturdays ago it gave the lads a bit of time to gel on the coach trip back and we have never looked back from that,” he said.
“The mood around the place has improved, it’s a lot different to what it was, and confidence is high.
“We will look to build on that and also look to recruit along the way. Hopefully then we can push on.”
However, he said the club would be strengthening the ranks, possibly as early as this week.
“We need more in defence, midfield and attack – basically it’s just down to the size of the squad,” said Danylyk.
“We have a lot of inexperience in the side – really good footballers but not a lot of Evo-Stik experience.
“We need to bolster that side of things if we want to progress in the league.
“We have a few irons in the fire and possibly by the end of the week or the start of next week we’ll hopefully have a bit of movement somewhere along the line. If not then we’ll wait for another opportunity to recruit the right player.”