We were on tenterhooks on Tuesday night to see who would be the first team welcomed to the newly named Skuna Stadium. Ramsbottom and Kidsgrove prolonged the anticipation by taking their FA Cup replay to extra-time at the Harry Williams, with Ramsbottom missing a penalty in the second half, The Grove eventually emerging victorious on penalties.
This will be the first meeting between the clubs since Kidsgrove rose out of the North West Counties in 2002. Since then, they have been plying their trade in the South counterpart to the division we competed in last season. Following the geographic reshuffle, we now find ourselves in the same division and coincidentally next week our destination is their Hollinwood Road ground.
Our visitors come into the game in fine form, unbeaten in six games so far, sitting on 8 points from 4 games in the league and with an FA Cup pedigree of reaching the 4th Qualifying Round in 2011/12 before falling to Bradford Park Avenue in front of a bumper four figure crowd. It is the prospect of a journey of that nature that makes the FA Cup so attractive.
Manager Ryan Austin’s plans for the game will have been disrupted by injuries to defenders Chris Baker and Oliver Jepson sustained on Tuesday night. The danger man is undoubtedly Ant Malbon, averaging a goal every three games in the Conference for Kidderminster Harriers and already with 5 bagged this season. With fellow frontman Jordan Cole having 3 to his credit too, the Colls defence may well have their hands full.
With Ben Hardcastle sitting top of the scoring charts and Jordan Cover also well and truly off the mark, then ours may not be the only defence kept busy. It promises to be a goalfest.
Admission tomorrow is £7 and £4 for concessions/students, with under-16s getting in for £1.