Wednesday, September 11, 2013
IAIN Parr says this Saturday’s FA Cup game against Wroxham will at least be some respite from the club’s so far harrowing league campaign after they were beaten for the sixth time in seven Southern League games at the weekend.
On Saturday the team take on the Norfolk side at the first round qualifying stage of the world famous competition and then, on Monday, Parr will become St Neots’ full-time head of football to coincide with the start of the new apprenticeship scheme.
“It’s a bit strange but I still feel we are getting somewhere,” he said. “After we were beaten at Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday there were a few unhappy fans but others came up and told us to keep our heads up and that we aren’t that far off.”
To be fair, it was always going to be a tough game against the Southern League’s pacesetters. Hemel featured former Saint Ben Mackey up front and he played alongside another striker of quality Lewis Toomey who scored both of the goals in their 2-0 win.
“At this early stage I think Hemel will win the league,” said Parr, who was asked by his chairman Mike Kearns to release three players last week: the big summer signings Joe Benjamin, Paul Rodgers and Ashley Fuller.
“We had stretched the budget to get those players in,” said the manager. “It was a tough call and a hard call to make by the chairman. It couldn’t argue with his decision.
“There may be times when I need to argue with a decision but not this one.
“We have our long-term objectives and since those players have left the club maybe the dynamics have even changed for the better.”
With the club’s new apprenticeship scheme having begun, St Neots are building for the future – but Parr will spend the next week looking for a goalscorer, too. Above all, St Neots must not lose the step 3 status that the club worked so hard to achieve.
“It will be a bit of respite from the league playing in the cup,” said Parr. “But Wroxham are a very good team. We had someone watch them and they are a really well organised team. He said they are probably the best organised team outside of the Football League he has seen.”
The Ryman League Division One North side are managed by the hugely experienced Polish coach Pawel Guziejko.
Wroxham eased to a 4-2 win over the United Counties League side Peterborough Northern Star in the previous round. Teams from the Conference North and South divisions enter the competition at the second round qualifying stage and there is £3,000 up for grabs for the winners on Saturday. So it may be a nice distraction for Parr but it’s not one he will be taking lightly.
Also in FA Cup action on Saturday are St Ives Town and Huntingdon Town, the new leaders of the United Counties League after they beat Wisbech Town for a second time in two weeks at Jubilee Park at the weekend.
St Ives welcome Dereham Town to Westwood Road, while Huntingdon, who are Robbie Savage’s team to follow for his ‘Road to Wembley’ feature on the Radio 5 Live programme 606, are away at Sleaford Town.
Meanwhile, Eynesbury Rovers have won five out of five in Division One of the UCL.