Away day tests lie ahead for Lions in cup competitions

Heanor Town will be hitting the road in the first stage of this season’s national competitions, the draws for which were announced last weekend.

In the FA Cup, Heanor Town begin in the Extra Preliminary Round and have been drawn away to fellow Northern Counties East League Premier Division side Retford United.

This tie will be played on Saturday, August 17.

The Lions will go into this game with the knowledge that they have never beaten Retford United in any competition, and this includes both the Northern Counties East League and Central Midlands League and a number of subsidiary competitions which were run by the latter.

Time for a change then? Yes it would indeed be nice to see the trend reversed in a game taking place in a competition where the prize money for continuation and progress is so lucrative for clubs at Step 5, and particularly Heanor Town who are under new management this season.

The prize for progress from this stage of the Budweiser FA Cup is a Preliminary Round tie against Belper Town, which could indeed turn into a money spinner as the two clubs have not met in competitive combat for a number of years.

This game would be played on Saturday, August 31.

Further progress would see the winners involved in what would certainly be a money-spinning local derby away to Ilkeston FC in the First Qualifying Round on Saturday September 14.

It would have been good if one of these ties had a home ground possibility, but if the Lions are to make progress and pick up some of the large sums of money in this competition, they must at least in the interim do it the hard way.

The away theme continues in the Carlsberg FA Vase where the Lions will begin their campaign in the First Qualifying Round with an away tie at former East Midlands Counties League rivals Anstey Nomads on Saturday , September 7. Cropston Road, unlike Retford’s Canon Park, has been a very happy hunting ground for the Lions and they won all three of their East Midlands Counties League visits there in convincing style. Progress in the FA Vase would see Heanor at home to Aylestone Park on Saturday, September 21.

Meanwhile, there have been some backroom changes, where Nick Scuffins is unable to continue in his role of club secretary due to obtaining a new job.

Nick will remain on the committee but the position of club secretary will now be undertaken by Amanda Jones, assisted by Martin Baker.