WHITBY Town face Blue Square North side Droylsden, known as The Bloods, in the FA Cup on Saturday (22 Sep) - without the services of recent signing Shane Henry.
The 21-year-old featured for Billingham Synthonia in a 1-0 extra preliminary round defeat to fellow Northern Leaguers Celtic Nation, a week before Town’s season started.
However, Henry will be at the Turnbull Ground to cheer on his team-mates and said: “I’ll just go along and warm up, sit on the bench and have a bit of craic with the lads. Hopefully we’ll get the win that we need.”
The ex-Guisborough Town winger has backed player-boss Darren Williams to help other young players through the second qualifying round tie and to pull the Blues away from the bottom two in the Evo-Stik Premier.
“The older people, who’ve been around and played in the further rounds, they’ll have experience, they’ll have done it all before,” he said.
“Daz said ‘things are starting to change for the better’ and I agree with him. I think we’ve turned the corner now – results just need to start falling into place.”
The Seasiders’ midweek result at North Ferriby United – a 1-1 draw against a side fresh from five successive wins and sitting sixth in the league – is a good one on paper, but Henry said the hosts’ late equaliser made it feel like a defeat.
“We were all gutted after, because we grafted for 90-plus minutes and then switched off once and it cost us.
“It was a bit hard to take really.
“Throughout the game, we showed a lot of togetherness and really grafted and deserved more than a point, which was the frustrating thing.”
Town will be hoping to upset another team who’ve gathered just one victory so far this season. The Bloods also lie second from bottom, in the league above Whitby, but have won the two clubs’ last four meetings.
It’s been eight years since Dave McTiernan scored in a 2-1 Turnbull Ground defeat to the Lancastrians.
Striker Graeme Armstrong is available again after missing Tuesday’s game and looking forward to the challenge: “It’s quite nice to have a break from the league, for once.
“That should take a little bit of the pressure off, especially with our position in the league.
“We know how they play, they like to get the ball down and pass it. It should be a great game.”
Armstrong (29), who played against Droylsden for Blyth, last season, is optimistic that Town can extend their unbeaten run to five matches and their overall record against the Bloods to 8-6.
“Surprises happen and we played well to get past Ossett, who were a decent side,” he said. “Hopefully we can get a bit of luck on the day and get through to the next round.”
The Seasiders, who should welcome back Williams and Kev Burgess from groin and heel injuries respectively, reached the penultimate, third qualifying round last season, losing 2-1 to Armstrong’s Blyth Spartans. The Northumberland club went on to beat Droylsden in the next round.
The Bloods reached the first round proper in 2010, taking Leyton Orient to a replay. Saturday’s victors will claim £4,500 and a shot at reaching the final qualifying round of the world’s oldest cup competition.
Admission at the Turnbull Ground is £9 adults, £5 concessions and £2 for under 16s, 3pm kick-off. If there’s a draw, the teams will replay at Droylsden on Tuesday night, 7.45pm.