Saturday, 21 February 2009

Excited Yet?

It's cup quarter final day! How exciting is that? Well, it'll be interesting to see how many people agree, and not just on the terraces. The crowd when we played the first round of this competition was massively down on what we attract to league games; I wonder if the passage of two further rounds and the close proximity to Wembley will tempt people out, although it is part of a sequence of four home games in a fortnight, so it could suffer as fans prioritise.

Likewise, how will Dean Saunders view the game? Obviously he's close to a cup final in his first half season in charge, but promotion is clearly his priority. Marc Williams isn't available-he looked off his game for the first time this season at Burton anyway so maybe a rest isn't such a bad thing. After all, if anyone's earned one it's him! But will Saunders leave out any more of his regulars?

Ashley Westwood's a likely character as his thigh strain is nursed through the season, especially with a game against play-off rivals Kidderminster on Tuesday, and the Gaffer might be tempted to try out his new signings Aurelien Collin and Jamie McCluskey.

What worries me a little is that if Saunders shuffles his pack, he'll be doing it against an Ebbsfleet side which is getting back in form after an alarming collapse over the Christmas period, and seem to be inspired by their defence of the trophy.

Furthermore, they were dominant in the abandoned game against Burton, a feat which we now know is not to be sniffed at. The league leaders showed their resolve in fighting back against us, but never looked like coming back at The Fleet.

Today will be a fascinating test of Saunders' squad, and with so many of the sides pushing for promotion already out of the competition, I hope we can pass it.

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