Hackett expecting big performance

Aaron Drake (left) has made a quick recovery from injury

Aaron Drake (left) has made a quick recovery from injury

First published in Sport

GARY Hackett says Stourbridge can deliver another big home performance against AFC Totton this Saturday.

The Glassboys are right in the thick of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off chase as the season enters its final two weekends.

Stour sit sixth in the table but are only three points behind the second-placed visitors, meaning the stakes are high for Saturday’s clash.

The Glassboys have lost only once in the league at Amblecote this season and have beaten everyone else in the top six bar Cambridge City. Hackett says his players have great self-belief on their own turf.

He said: “It does not come any bigger than Saturday and I think it’s going to be a very tight game.

“Our home form has been very strong and we believe we can win every game.

“We have to give Totton respect. They are where they are for a reason and gave us a very tough game when we went to their place.

“If we can beat them on Saturday we will put ourselves in a fantastic position going into the last game at Frome.

“It’s come down to the last two weeks and that’s all you can ask. I believe if we win our last two games we will be unlucky not to make the play-offs.”

Stour have been boosted by the return to fitness of Aaron Drake, whose knee injury was initally expected to rule him out for the rest of the season.

He was on the bench for last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Chippenham, where Jamie Oliver and Sean Geddes got the goals.

Hackett added: “I thought over the 90 minutes we were well worth the win.

“A big performance was needed and we showed it have it in our locker.

“We have got players who without question can step up. We have to prove it again on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, the Worcestershire Senior Cup final between Stourbridge and Kidderminster Harriers is now likely to be put back until pre-season.

The game was due to be played at Aggborough on Tuesday but with Harriers battling for a place in the Blue Square Bet Premier play-offs, Kidderminster manager Steve Burr is reluctant to risk any first team players.

Both clubs are now negotiating a new date.

Hackett said the decision was in the interest of both parties.

He said: “Kidderminster have an awful lot at stake and we were asked by the Worcestershire FA how we would feel playing the final in pre-season.

“I think it’s a good move as you don’t want to devalue the competition in any way.

“I fully understand Steve’s predicament and if I was in his shoes I would feel exactly the same.”


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