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Chester FC: Blues and FC Halifax Town to try again in FA Trophy

Forecast favourable for Wednesday's third round clash but much will depend on condition of pitch at the Shay Stadium

Bruce Fitzgerald
Ryan Higgins keeps watch on Connor Hughes during Chester's victory at the Shay Stadium back in August

Chester FC and FC Halifax Town will meet in the FA Trophy third round on Wednesday (7.45pm) - weather permitting.

A waterlogged pitch at the Shay Stadium led to the tie being postponed on Saturday and after originally rescheduling for Tuesday, the clubs agreed to push the game back another 24 hours to give the surface more time to recover.

Rugby league side Halifax RLFC played at the ground on Sunday so even if the rain in West Yorkshire relents, which the forecasts suggests will happen, the pitch probably won't be in the best shape.

A waterlogged pitch at the Shay Stadium led to Chester's FA Trophy game with Halifax being postponed
A waterlogged pitch at the Shay Stadium led to Chester's FA Trophy game with Halifax being postponed

If the game is postponed again, it is likely to be moved to Tuesday, February 16 which would mean Chester need to reschedule their league visit to Altrincham, which was postponed on Boxing Day.

The winners have been drawn at home to Gateshead in the quarter-finals and will bank £7,000 in prize money.

The Blues have beaten Halifax twice this season in the league, winning 1-0 on the road in August and 2-1 in the return fixture in October.

But the Shaymen's form has picked up significant since then and the hosts go into the tie protecting a 12-game unbeaten run under ex-Chester City manager Jim Harvey.

Read: Decision could have been made sooner, says Steve Burr after FA Trophy tie postponed

The postponement might have worked in Chester's favour as Ross Hannah (toe), Sam Hughes (illness) and Ryan Lloyd (ribs) were all doubtful for the original date.

Blues boss Steve Burr said: "It's going to be a tough game, certainly tougher than when we beat them earlier in the season because we are still stuttering.

"The players are the same but it's similar to Southport in that a new manager has gone in and that's given them a lift. It's amazing how that seems to happen but that's down to the confidence and belief that comes from winning football matches.

"Halifax have picked up and the players are playing with a lot more confidence and that's the one ingredient as a manger you wish you could give players."

Ben Taylor Photography Ben Heneghan climbs highest to head clear in Chester's 2-1 win over Halifax in October
Ben Heneghan climbs highest to head clear in Chester's 2-1 win over Halifax in October

Halifax will include ex-Chester pair Kingsley James and Matty Brown while former Torquay United striker Waide Fairhurst is available after signing non-contract forms last week.

Fellow new signing Dino Fazlic is cup-tied having played for Kidderminster Harriers in the competition while leading scorer Shaun Tuton has been sold to Barnsley.

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