Heyside and Avro to lock horns in cup semi-final
Wednesday 15th November 2017 @ 11:54 by Mark Phillip
Football Oldham Sports

Heyside and Avro will battle it out this weekend for a place in the Manchester Challenge Trophy Final.

The eagerly awaited tie, which is taking place at Crompton House Academy, will see the sides lock horns for the second time this season.

Avro, who proudly sit top of the Manchester Premier League on 34 points, ran out 2-0 winners when the sides met at the start of October, thanks to goals from Chris Howell and manager James Hampson.

Such is the quality of the Avro squad, Hampson’s side remain unbeaten this season. Of the 12 league fixtures played so far, Avro have won 11 and drawn one, scored 37 and conceded 13.

While the stats clearly speak for themselves, Heyside manager Matthew Wheelton won’t be daunted by such figures.

In fact, he says his side is capable of beating any team on their given day. Speaking to Reporter Sport ahead of the game, Wheelton said: “We’ve got to back ourselves, I mean it’s the semi-final.

“They don’t come around everyday, so we’ve got to have a go. Like I’ve said previously, we’re confident of beating anybody on our day.

“Avro are a great side and have started really well, but you’ve just got to take each game as it comes and hopefully we’ll do enough.”

Heyside enter the game in high spirits, having extended their unbeaten run to four games with a 5-2 victory over Bolton County last weekend.

Although the result leaves the squad fourth in the table and just eight points behind Avro, Wheelton still believes the deficit is too big to claw back. However, he is hopeful that a string of consecutive home fixtures may tip the balance in his side’s favour. “Avro are showing no signs of relenting and Wythenshawe, who are just behind them, are doing really well as well” said Wheelton.

“We have five home games on the bounce, so if we win all five of those – or win as many as we possibly can – we’ll see where we are at that point.

“The ambition is to finish as high up as possible; if that’s top brilliant, if that’s third fantastic. We just want to give the best account of ourselves as possible, but you can only do that game by game.”

Heyside’s Adam Dale notched a brace last weekend to take his tally to 10 goals for the season.

Although Wheelton is delighted with his striker’s form, the goals have cost him a pretty penny. “Adam has scored ten for the season now, with two of those coming in the cup.

“I had a bet with the two striker strikers at the start of the season; whoever reached ten goals first, I’d buy them a pair of trainers from work, so I’m now out of pocket unfortunately.

“It’s just a bit of fun really. I don’t mind who scores the goals, as long as we are.”

As we went to press, Wheelton said he had a strong squad to pick from. However, he will be missing one key player, although he does have an ideal replacement to fill the void. “It’s a pretty strong squad, although we’re missing Josh Bridden, who is a talismanic centre-half, so he’ll be a big miss.

“Other than that we’re fairly strong. A lad has come in for Josh, called Danny Toft, who is a carbon copy. He’s tall and left-footed, but it would be great to have both of them, rather than one or the other.”

The winner of the tie will face either East Manchester or Curzon Ashton Development.