Leamington host Kettering Town in the Emirates FA Cup tomorrow – and while the statistics favour the Brakes, boss Paul Holleran knows it will be a tense game with records at stake for both sides.
While the Poppies have not won any of the clubs’ last eight meetings, with seven defeats and one draw and will be looking to end that run, Brakes have not gone further than this third qualifying round of the competition during Holleran’s 12 years in charge – and will be determined to change that too.
“Although we have had the upper hand against them over the years, the stats don’t tell the true story,” the Brakes boss insisted.
“The matches have been a lot closer than those stats read. Kettering are in the best place they have been for a few years, on and off the pitch, with a good manager and a good balance of players.
“It’s going to be an interesting game which I hope lives up to expectations.”
He said Kettering’s fans have had to dig deep, with a lot to endure of the years, coming back up the league and he admires clubs that can do that.
“They are in a good position now, Paul Cox is a very experienced and very wise manager and he will know they can break the hoodoo – and we know that as well.
“We will have to be at our very best to get through this tie.
“Both teams will think they have a good chance, so it will be tense with a lot at stake, hopefully with a good crowd and a good atmosphere.”
There’s little to separate the two National League North rivals’ campaigns after seven outings this season.
The Brakes are ninth on 10 points with the Poppies one place above on 11.
Last weekend Leamington added a point to their tally at from their 1-1 trip to Hereford.
“Going into that game we would have been happy with that, but we were a little disappointed as their goal was so late,” Holleran added.
“The amount of opportunities we had either side of half time, we just didn’t take them, but they had a lot of the ball in the second half and peppered our goal as well. They are a decent side and deserved to get something out of the game.
“It’s our first point on the road and our best away performance, a good starting point away from home.”
Jack Edwards’ powerful header had given Brakes the lead after Joe Parker flighted the ball into the area, from Dan Meredith’s break.