VAUXHALL Motors are aiming to spring an FA Trophy surprise on Northwich Victoria this Saturday – and boss Andy Mutch has been busy doing his homework on the Blue Square Premier strugglers.
Motors’ home match against Boston United on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, allowing Mutch to visit the Victoria Stadium to watch Northwich clinch only their second league win of the season – a 1-0 victory over Oxford United.
Vics, who survived a winding up order earlier this season, are now on a three-game unbeaten run and head to Rivacre Park in their best form of the campaign.
Much, whose side play a division below their Cheshire neighbours, said: “Vics were very well organised. They have come through a lot of difficulty this season and, despite sitting at the bottom of their league, Dino Maamria has done a great job of making them a difficult team to play.”
Motors have been in inconsistent form of late, losing 2-0 at Nuneaton Borough last time out.
Arguably their best result of the season was the 1-0 win over Hyde United at the end of November, which secured them a place in Saturday’s FA Trophy first round.
Mutch was pleased to be able to check out Northwich at the weekend, but added: “I don’t know whether it will benefit my players or not, having that rest.
“But hopefully it will benefit the pitch. It has been left alone for a week and if the rain holds off this week then it should be in good condition for the tie.”
Motors chairman Alan Bartlam is hoping there will be a great derby atmosphere at Rivacre Park – and the travelling fans from Northwich should swell the attendance.
The winners of the tie will pocket £4,000 in prize money.
Bartlam said: “They are our near neighbours so I would hope that their fans would make the journey.
“It is always great to play teams in derbies and this is a very important one for us.”
Motors’ only absentee will be captain Joe McMahon. He is struggling after coming back early from ankle ligament damage, only to break down when Motors lost to Nuneaton Borough.
McMahon had already spent seven weeks on the sidelines and the club is not sure when he will return.
“He has done the same ankle again,” said Mutch.
“We think he will be out for another couple of weeks rather than the seven he was out previously, but while he is a good player and I would rather have the headache of choosing from a fully fit squad, I do still have a squad and players capable of filling in his role.”
Kick-off at Rivacre Park on Saturday is 3pm.