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Story posted: Friday, 26th November 2004

Bedworth pre-match news
The FA Trophy rolls around again and Gresley Rovers go in search of a 6th straight win when they entertain ex-colleagues from the Southern League Bedworth United at the Moat Ground in the 2nd round (Sat 3pm).
Rovers will be looking to avenge a 3-0 pre season friendly defeat against Mark Hallam's side. Bedworth have had a slow start this season to their league campaign but have already beaten 3 sides from higher divisions in cup competitions this season.

Rovers manager Gary Norton speaking to Gresley Rovers Online said: "It will without doubt be a tough game for us. League form counts for absolutely nothing on Saturday and we will need to be somewhere near our best if we are to stand any chance of being in the draw for the next round on Monday. I watched Bedworth deservedly beat a strong Halseowen side on Tuesday night and I know Mark is a bit bemused how his side can play so well against higher opposition but seemingly struggle against sides in their league. It's a level playing field on Saturday as we are both from the same level in the pyramid and both sides have a great chance to progress. Being a relative local derby it should be a great atmosphere and the players and I are really looking forward to it"

Ex-Rover Leon Doughty returns to the Moat Ground after moving to Bedworth early in the season as does Paul Spacey who spent a couple of months at Gresley last term. Norton should have a full squad to pick from with a few key players returning after being rested for Tuesday nights win over Staveley Miners Welfare in the Derbyshire Cup. Skipper Matt Smith and Liam Hebberd return to the squad and top scorer Aaron O'Connor, an unused substitute on Tuesday, is expected to resume his place in the starting line-up. Ashley Dodd, also a sub on Tuesday is also expected to resume his duties in the midfield. A selection dilemma for Norton will be who to play at the back with Jamie Hood now clear of suspension. Andy Simpson and Matt Smith have been superb in Hood's absence but a man of the match performance on Tuesday night will have given the Moat boss something to think about.

In other news, Justin Rowe's hamstring injury continues to rule him out although Norton is optimistic that his return is not too far away. "We were looking to give him a run out in the reserves in midweek," said Norton, "Unfortunately he can still feel a little tightness in the hamstring so we need to give him a little more time. He will continue with his treatment and we will asses it again during next week."

Rowe's return will be a welcome boost to the squad after several weeks out but Norton revealed that the club have issued a 7 day approach this week for a striker and are waiting for the opportunity to speak to the player concerned when the notice period is up.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Dale Belford is making very good progress after his back operation early this month. "Dale is working hard in physio and the gym but has to be careful because of the internal stitches in his back," said Norton. "He's in good spirits and can't wait to get back into action."
Meanwhile although the club supported Dale with his scan and consultation fees, the player himself paid out for his operation and the club are to hold a collection at tomorrows game to help contribute further towards the players medical costs. It is hoped that supporters will give generously.

Pemberton, MK Smith, White, Hood, Smith, Simpson, Barrett, Marlowe, Dodd, Hebberd, Gray, Gummer, Turner, O'Connor, Ejiofor, Wilson
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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