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FOOTBALL: Wallbridge out to sink old club Wantage
Didcot Town manager Andy Wallbridge is relishing the chance to put one over his former club, Wantage Town, in the preliminary round at Alfredian Park tonight (7.45).
Wallbridge’s three-year reign at Wantage came to an end when he was sacked in May, despite leading the club to the Hellenic League title in his first season and finishing runners-up last term.
He was replaced by Gary Ackling, but Wallbridge quickly found himself back in a job with Didcot.
His return to Wantage gives the first competitive meeting between the clubs for seven years added spice.
Wallbridge said: “It is obviously a great opportunity to get one over my old employers, but that doesn’t change the task.
“It will be brilliant for me after I was let go by them if I can go there and walk away with a very large smile on my face.
“But obviously we have got a job to do and they have had a great start to the season, playing five and winning five, so we go there knowing it is going to be tough.”
Didcot are still seeking their first win this season in the Calor League, but Wallbridge believes they are on the right track “We have been unlucky apart from the Shortwood game,” he said.
Defender Sam Elkins could start for Didcot, but midfielder Lance Williams may miss out with an ankle injury. Goalkeeper Kieran Beesley is added to the bench.
Wantage, who are top of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, will be without midfielder Danny Lachacz, who starts a four-match ban.
Striker Jimmy Deabill faces a late fitness test on a groin strain, while Gareth Brown and Richie Guy remain sidelined with knee injuries.
Steve Davis returns to the squad, and new signing Jake Rowe is also included.
Wantage Tn: Howe, Noice, Sadler, Butler, James, Webb, Cattell, Rowe, Melledew, Riccio, Younie, Davis, Austin, Pedder, Deabill, Claydon, Welch.
Didcot Tn: Tucker, Elkins, Janes, Meade, Carnell, Morris, Ferreira, McKirnan, Joyce, Haysham, Thorne, Halls, Parish, Blenford, Longford, Williams, Beesley.
Striker Conor McDonagh is set to start for North Leigh when they visit Combined Counties Premier Division side Bedfont Sports tomorrow.
He came off the bench to inspire the Millers to a 2-1 victory over Didcot in the league on Monday.
And boss Mark Gee said: “He was exceptional and changed the game for us. He will definitely start.”
Bedfont Sports knocked Abingdon United out after a replay in the last round, and Gee added: “I spoke to the Abingdon manager (Paul Noble) and he said it was a really good surfaceand they were a decent side, so it should be a good game.
“We want to progress as far as we can, so it is really important for us.”
North Leigh: Warrell, Hole, M Woodley, Turk, Gunn, Caton, Sanders, Osborne-Ricketts, Walcott, McDonagh, A Woodley, Williams, Bowles, Else, Dutton-Black, Westlake.
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