NFU v Ebbsfleet (FAT 4)

FA Trophy sponsored by Carlsberg
Fourth Round
North Ferriby United v Ebbsfleet United
Saturday 7 February 2015 ; KO 3.00 pm

Ferriby return to FA Trophy action on Saturday when Vanarama Conference side Ebbsfleet United visit the Eon Visual Media Stadium for a quarter-final tie. The two clubs have never met before and are really unknown quantities for each other. Comparisons between clubs from different divisions, even at the same level, are difficult to make but, no doubt, each club will have done a certain amount of homework on the other.

The Villagers will be hoping for a large crowd to urge them on to a piece of club history by reaching the FA Trophy semi-finals for the first time.

This is the second successive year that The Villagers have reached the last eight and they will be hoping to go at least one step better than last year when they lost at home to Gosport.

That defeat stung Ferriby’s pride as they failed to play at anything like their best. With most of this season’s squad having played in that game, they will need little incentive to go out and, hopefully, win this year and claim a semi-final place for the first time.

 The two clubs go into this game with fairly similar league records. Ebbsfleet have one of the tightest divisions in Conference South and both sides have scored 41 goals. Billy Bricknell, who is Ebbsfleet’s joint top scorer with Charlie Sheringham this season is no longer at the club.

It may be a blessing in disguise that Tuesday’s scheduled game at Oxford City fell victim to the weather. The players would probably have not got home much before three o’clock Wednesday morning, not the best preparation for an important cup tie. One has to remember that the players all have their regular jobs to go to as well. The commitment needed to play at this level is tremendous and is sometimes forgotten by fans.

Ferriby go in to this game with five wins and three draws in their last eight games. Last Saturday’s home win over Worcester was a really good team performance. Worcester were so outplayed that they had very few attempts on goals and Ferriby’s finishing was clinical.

Ebbsfleet have won three games in 2015, but two of these were FA Trophy victories against Conference National Forest Green Rovers and Braintree Town. They will clearly be mindful of the ability in this Ferriby squad but they are not likely to be daunted by a trip to Ferriby.

Ferriby Manager Billy Heath commented, "Hopefully, last season will serve us well. We just didn't perform on the day (against Gosport), but we are at home, that's what we wanted more than anything and we must make it count.

"Besides the FA Cup, this is the biggest quarter-final we can play in. There are no bad teams left at this stage and once you reach the last eight, you’ve got a chance.

“It will be difficult on Saturday, these types of games always are. However, we know we are capable of winning if we play to our strengths.”

There promises to be a great atmosphere at the Eon Visual media Stadium on Saturday. Ebbsfleet are expected to bring upwards of 200 supporters. With Hull City not playing at home it is hoped that those Tigers fans who also support Ferriby will come to the game.

Admission is being held at the usual prices of £12 (£6 concessions/ £3 under-16). Season passes are not valid for this game.

Heath should have virtually a full squad to choose from. Danny Emerton and Nathan Jarman are still working their way back from injury but are not too far short from being fit to play. Recent loan-signing Sam Topliss is eligible and will be in the squad.

NFU’s probable squad : Adam Nicklin, Tom Nicholson, Sam Topliss, Louis Bruce, Josh Wilde, Nathan Peat, Mark Gray, Gregg Anderson, Danny Hone, Adam Bolder, Liam King, Jon D’Laryea, Russell Fry,  Tom Denton, Ryan Kendall, Jason St Juste, Jamie Yates, Tim Taylor, Danny Clarke

If a replay is needed it will be at Ebbsfleet on Tuesday 10th January at 7.45pm.

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