EVEN the most ardent of Halifax Town fans couldn’t deny that Warrington Town deserved a place in the FA Cup first round.
Sure, the National League side outplayed the Yellows on Tuesday night, but they were very fortunate to even earn a replay in the first place and Warrington will no doubt rue the missed opportunity.
It’s not just the profile and opportunity that progressing to the FA Cup first round brings, it’s the financial rewards too.
The draw on Monday night, Morecambe away, could have been significantly better and as such, the result may not have been as much of a disappointment as it would have been had Sunderland been pulled out of the hat before Warrington.
But we move on, and the Yellows start on the trail of another cup competition, the FA Trophy, when they host Prescot Cables at Cantilever Park on Saturday.
Paul Carden’s side reached the last 16 of the competition last season after a memorable run that saw them despatch of National League side Ebbsfleet United and Tamworth, before succumbing in unfortunate circumstances at Wealdstone.
As was written about a run in the FA Cup, a run in the Trophy can too have an impact in terms of league form, and the financial rewards are much less.
The Yellows have slid down to fifth in the table through no fault of their own, and they will be desperate to get back to league action at Nantwich on Tuesday, that’s assuming they don’t need a replay to get past the Evo-Stik League West Division side.
One consequence of the extra cup game on Tuesday night was an injury to goalkeeper Tony McMillan, who recently kept an astonishing nine consecutive clean sheets in the league, which leaves Carden with a head ache.
With clubs reluctant to release players on loan or for short-term deals when cup competitions are still very much active, finding a ‘keeper of sufficient standard at such short notice may prove difficult.
Goalkeeper coach James Speare, 41, could be forced to don the number 1 shirt, having already been named on the bench for the Yellows on a number of occasions in the past 12 months.
He had a distinguished non-league career with Accrington Stanley, Southport and Barrow amongst others, but hasn’t played for the best part of three years.
Young stopper Joe Williams, 18, played in the Integro League Cup game at Runcorn Linnets, which ended in defeat on penalties, though Carden says he just isn’t ready for the rigours of Northern Premier League first team action at this point.
With McMillan likely to be out for a good few weeks, having suffered a severe gash on his leg on a metal framework part of the Halifax goal as he tried to keep out their opener on Tuesday night that required both external and internal stitching, finding an able deputy has been priority for Carden and chairman Toby Macormac.
The club announced the signing of 22-year-old goalkeeper Charlie Albinson on a one-month loan from Blackburn Rovers on Friday afternoon.