Basford United manager Mark Clifford says he can finally look forward to the historic Emirates FA Cup tie with Solihull Moors on Saturday, describing the past few weeks as ‘hectic’.
His side travel to the ARMCO Arena for a fourth qualifying round clash after a busy schedule that has seen eight games in less than a month, including penalty shoot-out wins over Boston United in the last round and Harborough Town in the FA Trophy last time out.
They defied the odds to reach this stage for the first time in their 122-year history by beating higher-league Boston in an enthralling replay, with goalkeeper Kieran Preston becoming a hero, scoring once before saving twice to see his side progress.
Speaking after a late 1-0 win over Hednesford Town in the Southern League on Tuesday night – a result that stretched their unbeaten run to seven in all competitions – Clifford said: “These last few weeks have been extra busy for us, but we can now finally look ahead to Solihull.
“I’ve spent the last few days telling anyone that will listen that I’ve not thought about Solihull because we have had games in other competitions, as well as the league – our bread and butter.
“I wasn’t prepared to let me, the staff or the players take their eyes off those games that was immediately in front of us, because if they did that was criminal.
“It’s always been one game at a time but, with those games out the way, we’re now fully focussed on the task at hand on Saturday. We’ll train well and our preparations will continue up until kick-off.”
And despite the demanding few weeks that has seen United lose only once – a 1-0 reverse against Tamworth over a month ago – Clifford now looks forward to going up against Neal Ardley’s Moors but is under no illusions about the task facing them.
Continuing on Tuesday night, he said: “I’m looking forward to it now the game against Hednesford is over because that game was important.
“Every game we play is important, three points are important for us, but with that behind us now, we can now look ahead.
“It’s going to be a tough test for us, we know that – probably the toughest test for a lot of the players – but it’s one we’re all relishing.
“After all, it’s the FA Cup, a competition famed for creating memories for the underdog so let’s just see what happens come Saturday.
“Regardless of the outcome, we can look back on this run with fond memories.”
Tickets for the game are still on sale via the Solihull Moors website HERE and United are rallying their community and fans to join them for the momentous trip.
Pay on the gate will be in operation.
*Article provided by Marc Williams (Basford United Correspondent).
*Main image @Basfordutd Mark Clifford celebrating with Dave Frecklington his assistant.