This week we turn our attentions to the FA Trophy for the visit of National League side Barrow AFC. Whilst Nuneaton have never progressed further than the quarter-finals, todays visitors are two-time winners. The most recent of those triumphs came in 2010 when they beat Stevenage 2-1 in extra-time at Wembley stadium.
Boro's Management team were on the losing side that day, Dino Maamria was a Coach and Assistant Manager, Jon Ashton, played in the centre of defence. They may feel a little unfortunate about the outcome, as they had a man sent off inside the first half an hour, and were reduced to nine men when, with all three substitutes already used, Charlie Griffin went off injured in added time. Barrow, reduced to ten men after Robin Hulbert saw red for his challenge on Griffin, were able to snatch an extra-time winner. Maamria and Ashton will hope for better luck this weekend.
Barrow's other victory in the tournament came at the old Wembley, twenty years earlier as they beat Leek Town 3-0 in 1990. Last season they made it to the quarter-final, losing out to Tranmere, whereas Nuneaton were knocked out in the round prior, 3-0 at home to, eventual winners, York City.
This season Nuneaton have already played one match in the competition, winning 5-1 at home to North Ferriby United, part of a four game unbeaten run. Barrow, as a National League side, only enter the competition at this first round stage, and may welcome the distraction as they also find themselves in a relegation battle.
Their recent form has been somewhat confounding, winning three straight away but losing three straight at home, including a 1-0 defeat last Saturday at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge. Among The Bluebirds' squad is former Premier League striker Grant Holt, the Player/Assistant Manager is in his third spell at the club after scoring 35 times in 69 appearances during the early 2000's. Barrow's danger man is forward Byron Harrison, their top-scorer this season with six goals. He's no stranger to Maamria and Ashton though, as they were all at Stevenage during the 2011/2012 season.
The two sides have met several times over the years with Boro coming out on top in their most recent meeting, a 2-1 victory away at Holker Street in the Conference a little over four years ago. In fact, Nuneaton have won seven and drawn three in an unbeaten run that dates back over 13 years. Can they make it eleven on Saturday? Come and join us at the LDJ Solicitors Stadium to find out.