WHITCHURCH Alport head into this weekend’s double header brimming with confidence after a blistering start to the season.

Saturday’s FA cup win against Malvern Town followed impressive league victories at Northwich Victoria and at home to Hanley Town and this weekend Luke Goddard’s men travel to East Lancashire to take on Padiham and then on Monday evening they host Congleton Town.

The Reds were missing several senior players for the trip to Hereford but, backed by an away support close to a hundred fans, they managed to secure a place in the extra preliminary second round qualifier.

Goddard – who made a cameo appearance as substitute in the cup tie – was relieved to have seen off the challenge of Malvern in tricky conditions.

He said: “We expected a tough game based on the research we had done and I felt the weather conditions favoured them more than us.

“We couldn’t get our passing game together and in terms of performance that was definitely our worst of the season.

“Having said that, we are absolutely delighted as a club to progress into the next round because the financial rewards alone can be a huge bonus for us.”

The Reds chief knew the importance of maintaining the winning run.

“It might not have been pretty,” added Goddard, “but we dug in and showed real character to see the game through.

“The wind made it an unattractive game to watch and although we did well in the opening half hour, once they got their penalty on half-time, they came into the game and might feel they did enough to force a replay.

“Of course, we’d always like to dominate games but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. One thing for certain, we need to improve with the ball because in the second half we were masters of our own downfall and gave them something to cling on to.

“There will be times this season where we won’t be at our best but we will need to dig deep and grind out a result. The pleasing thing about Saturday was that with a scratch squad we avoided a potential banana skin and we have a chance to progress the furthest in the club’s history in the world’s most famous cup competition.

“It can be very lucrative getting a run going in the FA Cup – it’s a nice distraction from league games but you always want to push Whitchurch Alport forward and improve our standing in the game.”

Goddard paid tribute to the away supporters that provided excellent backing for his side. He added: “They were the 12th man for us today and to have that level of support almost two hours away from Shropshire, emphasises their trust and belief in my side.

“I can assure them that all my players get such a lift when seeing so many following us bedecked in red and white. We are so grateful to them and the lads will never give less than 100 per cent to try and reward their unbelievable support.”

Goddard confirmed players will be available having completed suspensions and returning from injury, including skipper Darren Campion and Dylan Bath. Steve Jones and Dan Skelton also come back into the fold, with Goddard expecting a tough test.

He said: “We will assess the scouting reports that we have on both teams and we are expecting two tough fixtures. Padiham took four points from us last season and the least said about Congleton – at home at least – the better.

“We want to extend this winning run because I believe we have so much more to give and will only continue to improve by playing matches. We’ve still managed to bank three wins from our first three matches so you won’t find anyone complaining around Yockings Park.”

Monday night’s match kicks off at 7.45pm – Coleshill Town will be the next opponents for Whitchurch in the FA Cup.