16th Dec, 2017

Quarter-final is a huge test for Malvern Town says boss Jones

MALVERN Town boss Les Jones is relishing the challenge of facing higher ranked Stourport Swifts in the quarter-finals of the Worcestershire FA Senior Urn tonight (Wednesday).

The Hillsiders welcome the Midland League Premier Division outfit to the HDAnywhere Community Stadium hoping to book their place in the last four of a competition which Jones targeted winning at the start of the season.

However, after Saturday’s West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division clash against bottom of the table Wellington Amateurs was postponed due to the Shropshire side succumbing to illness, the Malvern boss admitted his players are a bit rusty heading into their cup tie.

“It’s never ideal when a game gets called off before you have a big game on the horizon,” said Jones.

“If the game had gone ahead and we had won, it would have kept the confidence going into the Stourport match.

“As Wolverhampton Sporting Community were in FA Vase action, it meant we missed out on the chance to go above them in the league table.

“The lads are disappointed but we just have to put it behind us.”

Only Shaun Smith (holiday) is missing for tonight’s clash against Swifts and Jones has urged his side they will need to defend well to progress.

Although their county rivals have lost midfield meastro Drew Canavan to Bromsgrove Sporting, the Malvern gaffer is still expecting a tough test.

“Stourport are going to be strong favourites and the game will be a good indicator to see how far we have come as a side this season,” he said.

“It’s going to be a really difficult game for us but it is one we are looking forward to.

“Our defence is going to be put under a lot of pressure so it is important we are perfect at the back like we have been in recent weeks.”

After the Swifts cup tie, Malvern return to league action on Saturday when they make the trip to Wellington.

The Hillsiders secured a 2-1 victory over this weekend’s opponents earlier in the season but, after watching the Herefordshire side on Saturday, Jones revealed they are much stronger outfit this time around.

“Their options in the attacking third have improved and are a real threat going forward,” he said.

“They will certainly be looking to avenge the defeat from earlier in the season.

“Wellington is always a difficult place to go to and being our local rivals it could be a feisty encounter.”

Smith will also be missing for the Wellington match.

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