Hemel Hempstead Town will have to make do without centre-forward Oliver Hawkins and captain James Potton for their FA Trophy third qualifying round clash with Weymouth at Vauxhall Road on Saturday.
The duo both picked up knocks during last weekend’s defeat to Margate, but manager Dean Brennan says the injuries will give some of the club’s fringe players a chance to impress against an in-form Weymouth side.
“We’ve got some injuries so a few of the other lads will get a chance this weekend. Hawkins is out, it looks like Hill could be out, and Potton could be out so it means that there will be changes to the team.
“The FA Trophy is a magnificent non-league competition, if not the best. I won it as a player and it was one of the best weekends of my life if I’m being honest. It was brilliant.
“Weymouth are a good side, and when is the last time a Hemel Hempstead side were favourites against Weymouth? They are such a big non-league club so it shows just how far we have come.
“They are flying in their division and we watched them last weekend against Dunstable, where they were by far the better team.
We want to get a good feeling back around Vauxhall Road and there’s no time like the presentHemel Town FC manager Dean Brennan
“They are a very organised, very well-drilled side who are quite physical and they are on the up so we have got to be very wary.
“Weymouth are a big, big club who should really be a Conference club. I remember playing for Grays against them 10 years ago in front of two and a half thousand people, which tells you everything you need to know about them.
“They are good people down there, and I look forward to seeing them again, but hopefully we can come away with the win. Whichever way we win, we’ve just got to win – in the cup that’s all that matters.”
Brennan was less-than-impressed by his team’s display against Margate, but he is confident that he will get a response on Saturday.
“We will have to improve on our first half performance against Margate last week if we are going to get through to the next round – it’s that simple,” he said.
“I know what we have got to do at this football club in order to get success, and I know how to win games of football.
“All I ask from the players is that they are honest and that they give 110 per cent. Last week, as a group, we didn’t do that.
“The lads have got to work harder than they did last Saturday, and we have got to keep clean sheets; we have conceded 10 goals in our last five games which just isn’t good enough.
“Whether we change personnel, or just work much, much harder to keep that ball out of our net, that’s what I’d rather do. The players have that choice and it’s up to them.
“There are a lot of things I’m not happy with, but it is what it is and we have just got to stick together and work harder than ever to get that winning vibe back around the camp.
“We want to get a good feeling back around Vauxhall Road and there’s no time like the present. We’ve got to earn the right to win football matches, and I know the lads will work their socks off this weekend.”
As well as Hawkins, Hill and Potton, Hemel are still without long-term absentee Ed Asafu-Adjaye, although he is back in training.