FA Cup Preview: Eastwood Town v Wycombe Wanderers
On Saturday Wycombe Wanderers travel to Coronation Park to face Eastwood Town in the 2nd round of the FA Cup.
The Badgers are currently 4th in the Northern Premier League with 32 points from 16 games.
Although they are 8 points off the top of the table, Eastwood Town have played three games less than current league-leaders Hednesford Town.
Eastwood are particularly strong at home and have not lost a league game at Coronation Park this season. They are currently in good form and have won 7 and drawn 2 of their last nine games in all competitions.
Their strong home form is also reflected in their goal-scoring record. They have scored 30 league goals (21 at home) and have conceded 13 (6 at home).
Top scorer for the Badgers is Ian Holmes who has found the back of the net 14 times in all competitions.
Eastwood's path to the FA Cup 2nd round is as follows:
Kidsgrove Athletic (H) 4-0
Lincoln United (A) 1-0
Harrogate Town (H) 2-2
Harrogate Town (A) 2-0
Wrexham (A) 0-0
Wrexham (H) 2-0
Brackley Town (H) 2-1
Lindon Meikle scored the Badgers' winning goal in the last round and he has been talking to the Nottingham Evening Post about facing Wycombe on Saturday: 'We know how to play at our place and other teams don't always fancy it, so you never know.' said Meikle.
Having previously been on trial with Nottingham Forest, 20 year old Meikle said it would be a 'dream to draw them' if Eastwood can make it through to the third round. 'It's a real incentive to beat Wycombe' said the pacey youngster.
Eastwood full back Alistair Asher also feels home advantage is a crucial factor: 'They will probably turn up and think 'crikey' and we have to turn that to our advantage.' said Asher, adding that despite Wycombe's great current form, the Badgers themselves are on a good unbeaten run and will be "up for this game.'
Eastwood chairman Robert Yong was among the spectators on Tuesday evening to witness Wycombe's 2-0 win over Notts County and he subsequently posted his views on the Badgers' Forum, saying: 'Wycombe are neat, tidy, organised and comfortable on the ball.' Yong finished by saying: 'It will be difficult, but definitely possible in my opinion.'
Wycombe Wanderers are unbeaten in League Two and sit four points clear at the top of the table.
The Blues are currently on a winning streak, having tasted victory in each of their last 4 games, during which time they've scored 11 goals and conceded 3.
The Chairboys' only appearances this season in both the Carling Cup and the JPT ended in heavy home defeats, but they made amends with a fine professional performance at AFC Wimbledon in the 1st round of the FA Cup.
Wycombe striker Matt Harrold scored a hat trick in the 4-1 win against the Dons and he has gone on to score 3 more league goals since then, making him the club's top goalscorer with 7 strikes to his name. Chris Zebroski is hot on Harrold's heels with 6 goals so far.
Manager Peter Taylor is not taking Eastwood lightly and told the club's official website : 'It's a very difficult game.' He went on to say that this game could be even harder than the 1st round tie at Wimbledon: 'To me, they could be even stronger than AFC Wimbledon,' said Taylor. 'For them to go to Wrexham and not concede is no mean feat.'
Wycombe have today signed winger Craig Dobson on a one-month loan from MK Dons and he is available for selection against Eastwood Town.
QPR and Southend have not given permission for on-loan players Angelo Balanta and Franck Mousa to play in the FA Cup, so neither will play on Saturday.
Matt Bloomfield made a brief appearance against AFC Wimbledon in the last round following his long lay-off through injury and could well be named in the squad again for Saturday's game.
There is no news from the club regarding Gavin Grant.
With the possibility of a glamorous, money-spinning 3rd round tie ahead of them, both sides have plenty of incentive to give their all in front of a packed crowd at Coronation Park on Saturday.
Eastwood Town are clearly a very good side at their level, but if Wycombe match them for effort, they should have enough quality to take them through to the next round.
Eastwood Town 0 Wycombe 2