Holwell Sports bid to lift County Cup for first time in 59 years

Holwell Sports 2016/17 with Martin Shepherd, managing director of sponsors Technical Turf EMN-170221-165648002
Holwell Sports 2016/17 with Martin Shepherd, managing director of sponsors Technical Turf EMN-170221-165648002
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Assistant manager Andy Hill believes the underdog label will suit Holwell when they face their first Senior County Cup final in 17 years.

Sports will be close to full-strength when they head to Holmes Park, in Leicester, to face Midlands League side Leicester Road on Tuesday (kick-off 7pm).

Holwell will assess the fitness of striker Graham Wells who has been since the start of the month  EMN-170504-102807002

Holwell will assess the fitness of striker Graham Wells who has been since the start of the month EMN-170504-102807002

The Asfordby Hill club’s last major silverware came 11 years ago when they won the Beacon Bitter League Cup, and they have to go back almost six decades to the 1957/58 season for their last county cup win.

That cup final win over Loughborough Colliery was the third time they had lifted the top trophy in four seasons.

But they will have their work cut out next week against the Hinckley-based side who finished third in Division One.

“We know they are a very good footballing side; I know their manager and his philosophy,” said Hill.

Kieran Foster should return for Tuesday's cup final EMN-170419-133226002

Kieran Foster should return for Tuesday's cup final EMN-170419-133226002

“It’s going to be difficult and we will have to be at the top of our game to win it.

“But I would rather be the underdogs because there isn’t so much pressure. If you’re the favourites it can make you nervous.

“We are excited about the final, the place is buzzing, but we are trying to keep calm.”

It will be a proud occasion for chairman and long-time Holwell man Graham Lewin who oversaw a cup final win during a successful spell as the club’s reserve team manager.

“It is absolutely massive, and I’m so pleased and proud to be in the final,” he said.

“I‘m pleased for the committee and the players. They have been at Holwell a few years and some of them have played for me, so it’s nice to reward them with a cup final and there’s no better place than Holmes Park.

“It’s going to be one hell of a challenge, but I’m sure we will prepare properly.

“If we show the same guts and determination as we did on Saturday we are always in with a chance.”

Chris Hibbitt is doubtful after turning his ankle against West Bridgford, but striker Graham Wells could be fit after injury.

Several older heads, who were rested or unavailable for the league run-in, shoudl also return, including Liam Chapman, Kieran Foster and Rob Woodcock.

Holwell will finish the season no higher than 14th and no lower than 16th after John Webster’s first campaign as manager came to an end on Saturday.

Injuries have seriously disrupted the team’s momentum this year, and the strong performances of young stand-ins has given Holwell’s backroom team confidence of better fortunes for next term.

Hill added: “The last two or three games were a little experimental as we tried to give a few of the players a rest and bring in some new players with an eye on next year.

“For our first season we have got to be reasonably happy. We would have liked a top 10 finish, but the way the season has panned out with injuries and us being new to the club, we have to be satisfied.

“We played some very good football at times and know that with a full squad we are a match for anyone in the league.

“This year was all about building so it bodes well for the future.”