Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rebels tough Cup opener

Stuart Brennan
11/ 9/2008

FC UNITED kick off their FA Cup campaign at Nantwich with some trepidation – the last time they played a competitive match there, they lost 5-1!

And manager Karl Marginson is warning his side that the Dabbers, who host the rebels in the first round qualifying on Saturday, have actually overhauled their team since that President’s Cup quarter-final thrashing last season.

On that occasion, Nantwich were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player, despite the Rebels appealing to the UniBond League on their behalf, saying that the arrival of the offending player as a late substitute had no bearing on the result.

The league refused to listen, and FC went on to win that cup. And before a pre-season friendly at Weaver Stadium, FC presented their UniBond premier division rivals with a trophy entitled Not the President’s Cup as a gesture of goodwill.

“We’ve got a very friendly relationship with Nantwich, but the draw couldn’t have been much tougher,” says Marginson, who will welcome back centre half Adam Turner after he missed Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat at Prescot Cables due to work commitments.

“But they have brought in 11 new players in the summer, with plenty of experience, but they are a footballing team like us and that could make it a very good game.”

Defender Rob Nugent has been told to rest his knee injury for another six weeks, but the defender is considering ignoring the surgeon’s advice and playing through the pain barrier.

"They opened his knee up for a cartilage tear and the surgeon has said they could find nothing wrong," says Marginson. "They told him to come back in six weeks and just do stretching exercises.

"But Rob just wants to get on with it and play through the pain barrier, as he did last season. We will take a look at him in training, but even if he does decide he's OK to play we will give him a week or two."

Marginson had a dire warning for the rest of his defence after conceding four at Prescot: “Some of our defending was a disgrace, and there are players in the team who are skating on very thin ice.”