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Royston Town Preview

Wingates season has, in recent weeks, hit what one may describe as a bit of turbulence. A tightly packed October month has seen them play seven fixtures across four competitions in just 24 days, winning four and losing three. Saturdays fixture against Royston comes as the first in Wingates campaign for the FA Trophy and this competition serves as a nice alternative to the FA Cup proper, after the Blues lost out to Weston-Super-Mare three weeks ago to the day. This defeat, coupled with injuries, fixture congestion and paternity leave for in-form striker Rob Laney, has ensured manager Simon Lane has been kept on his toes with regards to his personnel changes, but Wingates only win since the FA Cup loss has come sandwiched between two defeats. If the season has indeed hit turbulence, then this game against Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central outfit Royston Town may just be the fixture Wingate need to level out their season. The Crows wont make this game easy though. Their last nine fixtures have seen them fail to secure maximum points just twice, thanks in part to a six game winning streak that included their 3-0 hammering of Great Wakering Rovers to set up this tie with Wingate. Hammerings have been the flavour of the month in Hertfordshire too; recent results have seen winning scorelines of 3-0, 4-0 (x2) and 7-1. Sitting fourth in their division, Royston have shown this season that they could be serious title contenders, snapping at the heels of first-place Egham Town who hold a tenuous two-point advantage over the Crows. Wingate will be wary of attackers Rob Mason and Rhys Hoenes, with the pair notching up 16 goals between them this campaign which included a hat-trick for the latter in that remarkable 7-1 victory against North Greenford. Midfielder and captain Scott Bridges also put his case forward for the match ball in that game, netting half of his season tally of six goals within those 90 minutes. With Royston able to boast eight other goalscorers in their team, Wingate will need to be aware that chances and goals can come from anywhere on the pitch. Despite their stature, Royston can regularly draw home attendances in triple figures and Wingate will need to display a strong home performance so as to avoid a replay at a tough ground with a strong local support. With just 8 fixtures separating the Harry Abrahams Stadium from Wembley, The Blues will have to display some early signs of the mental strength and technical ability it will require to take them there. By Andy Gerlis

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