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Weekly Bulletin & Manager's Notes, 5 January

Friday, January 5 2018

FIXTURES

Saturday 6 January away to Banbury League kick off 3.00pm. Coach leaves at 11.30am. I have spoken to the Banbury secretary and he has said there are no problems with the pitch so the game is definitely on.

Tuesday 9 January away to AFC Rushden and Diamonds BigFreeBet.com Cup kick off 7.45pm. There is no coach to this game.

FUTURE FIXTURE NEWS

Chris Newbold has been busy sorting out new dates for a number of fixtures. The following are now confirmed dates:

Monday 22 January home to Boreham Wood Herts Senior Cup kick off 7.45pm.

Monday 12 February home to Chesham League kick off 7.45pm.

Monday 19 February home to Slough League kick off 7.45pm.

If we beat Boreham Wood we would be at home to Welwyn Garden City or Kings Langley on Monday 5 February kick off 7.45pm.

HITCHIN TOWN LADIES FC

The Ladies are away to Woburn and Wavendon Lionesses on Sunday 7 January kick off 1.00pm. The game will take place at Aspley Guise Recreational Ground, West Hill, Aspley Guise MK17† 8DX.

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19íS

The Academy team beat Leatherhead 4-2 on Wednesday. Their next game is away to Wealdstone on Wednesday 10 January kick off 2.00pm.

KINGS LANGLEY PITCH INSPECTION

The Kings Langley fixture was switched from New Yearís Day to Saturday 30 December to enable players and supporters to enjoy New Yearís Eve celebrations and be able to attend family functions. We felt that as there was no National League South programme and no Evo-Stik South Premier programme on the Saturday we could gain extra supporters. Also Luton and Stevenage were away on the Saturday but at home on New Yearís Day so a switch of dates seemed a worthwhile exercise. As our attendance was 540 and only bettered by Hereford and Kettering I think we were vindicated.

But the weather nearly intervened as, from early in the week, the melting snow and subsequent rain had waterlogged Top Field. As ever our ground staff were on the ball and water pumps were used from Thursday to take water from the drains behind each goal which had filled up to enable more water to come off the pitch. This proved very successful but heavy overnight rain early on Saturday created more surface water and our ground staff started working at 8.00am to try and get the game on. Luckily the rain stopped and the wind got up but an inspection was still felt to be necessary. The part of the pitch nearest the dug outs was by far the worst area as the rest of the pitch was perfectly playable. Mr Forrester was very keen to play the game and although there were a couple of places where his boots really sank in to the ground he was happy it was not a safety concern. With no further rain forecast and with the ground staff continuing to work on the ground the pitch passed its inspection. While the dug outs side wing was certainly difficult both teams were able to play good football so thanks again to our ground staff for their excellent work.

AMONG THE CROWD

At the Kings Langley game there were some familiar faces. Will Wright was there with his mum and dad and he told me he is really enjoying his time at Colchester United and is playing regularly for their under 23 team. He still keeps in touch with all that is happening at† Hitchin. Callum Donnelly was also at the Kings Langley game as was ex-manager Darren Salton who remains a big fan. Ian Donnelly and Peter Clarke were also at the game and it is great that so many ex players and officials keep coming back to Top Field. Liam Brooks was also in attendance.

TALES OF THE TOWN

Neil Jensenís book is selling very well and has been very well received. You can buy a copy at any home game from the supporters club shop or online at https://hitchintownfc.ktckts.com/merchandise/ht1718mtt/tales-of-the-town.

PLAYER NEWS

Connor Vincent sustained a hamstring injury against Kings Langley and could be out for two weeks.

Lewis Rolfe starts his two game suspension with the Banbury game.

Kevin Byrne has returned from holiday and is now available.

Jack Green has had his scan and expects to get his results the early part of next week.

Robbie Burns has returned to training (story here).

AFC RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS

Our BigFreeBet Challenge Cup game at AFC Rushden and Diamonds on Tuesday will undoubtedly be difficult as from 11 November they have won eleven consecutive games. This includes† nine league games which they have won scoring 21 goals and conceding just 2. They have already beaten St Neots and Kettering in the League Cup so we will need to be at our best to progress.

MANAGERíS NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

KINGS LANGLEY

Firstly many thanks to our ground staff for getting this game on despite the horrible weather during the week and also to all the supporters who turned up to produce an excellent attendance of 540.

The first half was peculiar in that we were two goals ahead but I was not pleased with our performance. Indeed I thought Kings Langley were the better team and played the better football while we had started slowly. It was good that our finishing was clinical but I told the players in no uncertain terms that† they needed to raise their game. I was again happy with their response and we were much better in the second half. Again our finishing was first class and it made a big difference to our goal difference. As I said last week we always try to begin a new unbeaten run after a defeat and this was a good start to that process. Our first aim is to cement our place in the top ten and then try to reach the play off positions. There are still many games to play and results will fluctuate throughout the league but we will just concentrate on our own performances.

BANBURY

We go to Banbury on Saturday seeking revenge for our 3-0 defeat in August which is our only home league defeat so far this season. That defeat was comprehensive but I am sure we will give them a better game this time around. Banbury come in to the game on the back of an excellent victory at Stratford on Monday and I know this will be a difficult game. However we will be buoyed by our 6-0 win against Kings Langley which has boosted our confidence.

AFC RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS

We travel to Rushden with them being the most in form team in the whole of the Southern League. They have only conceded one goal in their last six games which were all won. I expect there will be a large home crowd but hopefully we will also have a good following to support the team in their quest to reach the quarter finals. My aim is to win all three of the remaining cups we are still in so we will take this game very seriously.



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