In-form Belper warned to forget FA Cup

Belper celebrate their winner over Alvechurch
Belper celebrate their winner over Alvechurch

Belper Town’s players have been warned not to be distracted by the FA Cup when they look to stretch their unbeaten start to the BetVictor NPL season at Worksop Town this Saturday.

After winning a preliminary round replay at Sporting Khalsa in midweek, Belper gallantly dug deep to beat Alvechurch 1-0 on Saturday to book a second qualifying round home tie with Premier Division Witton Albion over September 20th/21st weekend.

However, boss Grant Black warned: “The FA Cup is gone now. We get off that train and get back to our bread and butter.

“I will emphasise to the players we don’t want any hangover from the weekend. That’s gone now and the lads that are playing on Saturday are playing for their FA Cup place.

“If they let their foot off the gas against Worksop, they wont be playing against Witton Albion. It’s down to them to keep their places now.”

Black was happy to draw a bigger club at home, saying: “It’s a one-off game so anything can happen. Nothing is ever guaranteed in FA Cup football.

“We will go and watch them and speak to a few people, then prepare like we would for any other fixture. It’s good to have a home tie.

“We had a good crowd on Saturday so it will hopefully bring another good crowd in for the next game and we’ll see what happens on the day.”

It is also a third cup payday for the club which Black knows could come in useful later on.

“The club have been great,” he said. “I am not daft and I have been around long enough to know this is a big part of non-league football.

“But they have never made any statement to say we’ve got to win this or it will affect that. They just let us get on with it which is a massive bonus for us.

“The money we’ve got in from these first two games will be more than helpful for them I am pretty sure.

“If we need a big push at the back end of the season hopefully they might give us a little bit of that back to kick on.”

After being taken to extra-time in the 3-1 replay win at Khalsa, Black saw it catch up with his men in Saturday’s first qualifying round tie with Alvechurch before they somehow found a second wind.

“I looked at the lads at 70 minutes on Saturday and we looked tired,” he said.

“I thought we were going to struggle for the last 20 but from somewhere the lads just seemed to find another gear. I don’t know where they got it from to be honest.

“They just really kicked on which was so pleasing from our point of view. It showed how fit they are and what they’ve got in their bellies to want to win a game of football.

“It will be good to have a rest this week. We will train once and make it nice and light before we start preparing for Worksop.”

He added: “We are still unbeaten this season and I think it now dates back to the beginning of March last season and 13 games unbeaten in all competitions.

“It’s brilliant for us. We will keep our feet on the ground but it’s good for confidence.

“Winning games is what we’re here to do and the longer we can keep it going, the more we’ll climb the league. Winning games breeds confidence around the club and there’s a real buzz right now.”

Belper will not take newly-promoted Worksop lightly on Saturday.

“Worksop have had a good start to the season as well,” he said.

“They’ve come up into this league and are acquitting themselves really well.

“They went away to top of the league Carlton on Saturday and beat them 3-1.

“It’s not a local derby for Belper but it’s not too big a distance.

“So hopefully we’ll have a good set of travelling fans again which we’ve had every game this season so far, which has been pleasing.”

On Tuesday night, Belper take on Matlock Town at home in the Integro League Cup.