OSSETT Town manager Phil Sharpe is hoping it’ll be third time lucky when his side face ground-sharing rivals Wakefield FC in the FA Trophy at Stade France today (kick-off 3pm).
Town have already fallen to heavy defeats against the Bears in Evo-Stik Division 1 North, 4-1, and the FA Cup, 4-0, and face Steve Nicholson’s men in the preliminary round of the knockout competition this weekend.
It’ll be the third time in less than six weeks the sides have gone head-to-head and Sharpe is hoping his men can finally secure a win after learning the lessons of two defeats against their “nemesis” so far this term.
“They’ve deserved to win both games,” said Sharpe.
“They’re our nemesis at the moment, we just haven’t matched them physically, we haven’t been able to cope with their big strikers and we’ve been made to pay.
“Tom Denton has made the difference, there’s no doubt about it, and we have to stop him, we have to deal with that problem.”
Town sit level on points with the Bears going into the game and sit 13th in the league table.
But although Town made an encouraging start, Sharpe hasn’t been happy with recent performances, including a 2-0 home loss against Garforth Town at the weekend.
He’s acted accordingly, bringing in strikers Lee Garside, from Worsborough Bridge Athletic, and former Frickley Athletic frontman Neil Towler ahead of Saturday’s game - and he’s targeting more new arrivals to boost his squad in the coming days and weeks.
“We started well but we’ve become a bit complacent,” Sharpe admitted.
“Against Wakefield both times we went behind and we just capitulated. Our home form hasn’t been great and I just felt we needed some new impetus within the squad.
“We needed to be a bit more physical in attack and we needed some more industry in the squad. We’ve got some of that with the recent signings and I’m still looking for a defender.”
Both new arrivals could feature against the Bears, but Town have mounting injury concerns.
Niall O’Brien won’t feature against his former club after breaking his nose.
Darren Thornton is expected to be in the treatment room for a while with torn ankle ligaments, while striker Nathan Kemp is also sidelined through injury.
As well as a confidence-boosting progression to the next round of the competition with a win, the FA Trophy also provides clubs with a welcome financial boost.
Tomorrow’s winner will receive £2,000 from the prize fund and the chance to secure more financial benefits further down the line.
The winner will face a trip to Evo-Stik Premier Division strugglers Stocksbridge Park Steels in the first qualifying round.
The match will take place on Saturday, October 22.
Ossett Albion are also involved in FA Trophy preliminary round action today at home against Lincoln United (kick-off 3pm).
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.