Boss Austin excited as Harborough Town make history in FA Trophy

Harborough Town boss Mitch AustinHarborough Town boss Mitch Austin
Harborough Town boss Mitch Austin
​Boss Mitch Austin says it is 'a great time' for Harborough Town to be facing one of the biggest matches in the club's history when they entertain Avro FC in the first round of the FA Trophy on Saturday.

History will be made at the Community Football Ground as the tie marks the first occasion the club has reached this stage of the competition.

It has been a great season so far for the Bees, who sit third in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division, two points off leaders Spalding United with a game in hand.

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Town are currently on a seven-match winning run, although they were denied the chance to stretch that on Saturday when their clash at Gresley Rovers was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

But they go into the clash with Oldham-based Avro in good heart, and Austin said: "We are in a good bit of form so it is a great time to have a big fixture, and hopefully come out on the right end of it.

"Avro are a very strong side, and they mirror Harborough to an extent in that they were promoted last season and have momentum with them.

"They have some experienced lads, they are workmanlike and have a good team spirit, and it is going to be a tough fixture for us.

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"We are hoping the travel knocks a bit of wind out of them, and hoping we can catch them on an off day, but they know they are also up against a good Harborough Town side.

"Both managers will be respecting the opposition and understanding it is a tough match for us both."

And he added: "This is the furthest we have been in the competition.

"Last season we had a good stint, but went out in the round previous, so this match is the furthest we have been, and fingers crossed we can go a bit further still.

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"We have only conceded one goal in the past six or seven games, we are third in the league and if we win our game in hand we go top, so we are in a good place."

Austin has a fully fit squad to choose from, apart from sidelined goalkeeper Elliott Taylor, but teenage loanee James Dadge, who joined the club from Northampton Town at the start of the month, has filled his gloves in style, keeping three clean sheets in a row.

"James has been brilliant in the past three or four games," admitted Austin.

"He was really good last Tuesday night (in a 1-0 win at Bedworth).

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"He made some really good saves and it just shows what we can attract to the club, bringing in a starlet from Northampton Town, and the competition is very healthy.

"A couple of the lads are looking over their shoulder, and there are a couple of lads desperate to get in.

"We have never had it like that before, and that is really good."

Austin has also called on the football-loving Market Harborough public to get along and cheer the team on this Saturday.

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"We haven't had a big crowd since the FA Vase game against North Shields, where nearly 1,000 turned up," said the Bees boss.

"If anything has disappointed me in my time at the club it has been kick-on suppport, and I think we really, really need a big crowd behind us, to be our 12th man, so we can get through and create more history."