Boss on personnel and penalties ahead of cup tie
Manager Paul Buckle will be forced into changes for tonight’s FA Cup first round replay with Nuneaton Town as the Town look to bounce back to winning ways after two successive defeats in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Simon Ainge, Jonathan Smith and Jon Shaw will be definitely missing at Liberty Way as the Hatters take on Boro for the third time in a little over a month.
But Buckle is confident despite Saturday’s set-back at Dartford that his side can earn a second round tie at home to a Dorchester side they will face in the first round of the FA Trophy, following Monday’s draw.
“We are forced into some changes because of the FA Cup and players not able to play, so there is a bit of change for us,” Buckle said at Monday’s press call.
“I suppose really and truthfully it will be whoever performs on the night and who gets a little bit of luck as well.
“We’ve got a couple of knocks. Again I’m sort of reluctant to give the game away in terms of who is injured and who’s not.
“We have got a couple of knocks which is unfortunate but again we’ll field a strong team tomorrow night.
“It’s been an interesting couple of days for us. We reported in 9.30am Sunday morning after our defeat at home, we took it on the chin, it wasn’t nice.
“A lot of work’s gone in on the training field and having meetings in terms of trying to get another big run going together.
“Because we were on a tremendous run, not only of results, but a tremendous run of form as well.
“That against one poor performance makes me still quite confident we can get back to winning ways.
“We’ve got a bit of scope, but we’ve not got an awful lot of scope to be honest.
“I think with a couple of injuries and with the seven subs there will probably be nobody left over.
“There’s not an awful lots of scope but at the same time I haven’t needed to look to bring anybody in because we’ve been going so well.
“It was a surprise on Saturday how we went about things because that was really unlike us. I don’t want to be kneejerk and start making wholesale changes, I don’t think it warrants that, I don’t think the players deserve that.”
With the tie settled on the night this evening extra-time and penalties are a possibility but Buckle has primed his side ready for whatever comes the Town’s way on their first visit to Liberty Way.
“We have practised penalties,” admitted the manager. “We really pride ourselves on being organised, that’s why Saturday the two set-plays were so disappointing for all of us because we had really brushed up on our area of that game.
“We’ve been so strong and they weren’t even good deliveries. With all due respect they weren’t good deliveries, we just didn’t pay enough attention to the situation in terms of coming back in and spotting the danger and thinking actually you know, we could be undone by this.
“Our body language wasn’t how it should be when the opposition get a set-play and we’ve looked at that and the players have accepted it and they’re going to put it right.
“We know that set-plays are a huge part of the game. You saw yesterday in the Premier League and Saturday in the Premier League, for all the good play and all the millions of pounds on the pitch you have to defend set-plays.
“If we can get that back up and running I’m more than sure we can go on another good run.”
Nuneaton currently prop up the Blue Square Bet Premier table but have twice given the Town a run for their money at Kenilworth Road this season.
But the FA Cup is different and Buckle believes Boro will be aiming to beat his side on Tuesday night.
“Hopefully they will try and win the game in normal time. Who knows,” he said.
“Very rarely do I try and work out what is in another manager’s mind.
“I just try and concentrate on what we’re good at and this season we’ve done so many things right.
“When we are on top of our game we are a real handful.
“I think they’ll be hard to break down again. I think that will be the case.
“We’re the away side, our away form has been very good although we got beat up at Hereford we thoroughly deserved to win that game in my opinion.
“We’ve had the one off day which was Saturday, which wasn’t nice and we are desperate to get back on track.
“We’ve won one and drawn one and we will be looking to maintain that unbeaten record against them.
“They’ve been a tough nut to crack so to speak, but they had a disappointing result on Saturday as we did so it’s all to play for.
“Both teams will have that advantage of knowing systems and knowing personnel. That will be an advantage for them and an advantage for us.”