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Battersby back in bid to break Bradford hoodoo

Midfielder Richard Battersby is set to return to the action tonight after missing both FC United’s defeats this season as the Reds travel to the Horsfall Stadium hoping to finally beat Bradford Park Avenue at the ninth attempt.

The former Stalybridge Celtic player was influential in United’s opening three wins of the season but has since missed the defeats to Ashton and Matlock in the last 10 days due to picking up a knock during the 5-1 defeat of Retford. Assistant manager Roy Soule said: "Bats is very close, he’s moving freely and he could well take part in Wednesday’s game."

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good news for Steve Torpey. Soule explained: "It’s a reoccurrence of an old groin injury for Stevie, so he may be out for some time. We’ll have to see how he responds to physio work and stretching, we don’t want to aggravate it any further. It’s a real shame because he worked very hard in pre-season."

Meanwhile, Reds’ forward Ben Deegan, who has missed the last three games, should be available for the weekend’s FA Cup tie with Radcliffe and has a chance of being part of the squad to take on Bradford. Soule was also pleased to report that Chris Ovington and Colin Little, who have both been struggling with hamstring strains, came through Sunday’s defeat and subsequent training without any further problems.

Despite losing five times to Bradford whilst managing only three draws against the West Yorkshire side over the last three years, Soule is unconcerned with the opposition. He said: "I don’t care about the history of results, I care about the future of results. You can’t change history but you can decide the future."

Soule believes there is no need to panic after Sunday’s thrashing at the hands of Matlock but he wasn’t looking for excuses and has identified a number of areas where United can improve. He said: "5-1 might not reflect the balance of the football that we saw but score-lines don’t tell lies. There were a couple of individual errors but more tellingly Matlock caught us cold for their first two goals. It shows that our attention needs to be focussed before that whistle is blown.

"Also, we lost our momentum during the (28 minute) stoppage. We’ve learnt from that and if anything like that ever happens again we’ll have the players doing a physical activity whilst they wait for the game to be restarted."

Although Soule doesn’t expect Margy to ring out the changes to the first team after two defeats, he had a few words of encouragement for players on the fringes. "It’s a squad game. We want to keep all the players involved and ready to come in, that’s why we had the practice match at Trafford last week.

"I’ve got a saying - ’I never take a shirt off a player but sometimes he gives me it back’. If the lads in the team aren’t performing then it’s up to the other players to show us what they can do, the opportunities are there."

Bradford Park Avenue versus FC United of Manchester is this Wednesday with a 7.45pm kick-off. It’s pay on the gate with prices £8 for adults and £5 for concessions. Bring on United.

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First Posted ~ 13:17 Wed 8 Sep 2010
News ID ~ 3082
Last Updated ~ 12:57 Mon 21 May 2018