Whitchurch Alport have lost the opportunity of a warm-up game ahead of this weekend’s important league fixture.

Tonight’s cancelled Ethelston Cup quarter-final tie with Alscott was a chance for Luke Goddard’s men to get a run-out ahead of their game against Hanley Town in the league on Saturday.

Alport have not played since their 1-1 draw with Irlam on November 24, with Goddard welcoming the break in the fixture list knowing that they would face Alscott before returning to league action.

But after tonight’s opposition decided they would be unable to raise a team, it has meant Alport are now going into the Hanley game having not played for a fortnight.

Goddard feels as though his side have missed the chance to get match sharp ahead of the game against Hanley.

“It’s funny isn’t it that I had brushed aside not playing on Saturday because we had the cup tie to prepare for the game at Hanley,” he said. “We would have gone strong had the game been on because they’d given us a real scare during the cup final carried over from last season.

“Additionally, we wanted to give most of the lads a run-out so that they could be match sharp for the league game on Saturday.

“It’s really short notice and inconveniences a lot of people but it’s the competition organisers and chosen charities who will be hit hardest.

“Revenue from a game which would have probably attracted a decent crowd will now be missing and that’s a shame.

“I guess if you’re looking to take any positives, it protects our pitch and has given us a direct route to the semi-finals.”

To make the most of their free weekend, Alport had a pre-Christmas get-together with around 40 people, including players, staff and committee members, all enjoying a day at the races.

Goddard added: “It’s just another example of how everyone comes together to keep the spirits high within the club,” said Goddard. “Everyone had a great time and events like that are vitally important.

“People will know by now how much I stand by what happens off the pitch as well as on it and that includes supporting local businesses – many of whom support the club financially.”

The side now turn their focus to the Hanley game, where they will be looking to return to winning ways after four games without a win.

Another positive of the break means that injured players have been given more time to recover, however the Hanley game may be too soon for striker Alex Hughes.

Goddard said: “Alex hasn’t played any football for a few weeks now given that he was injured within five minutes of the kick-off at Winsford. Our original fears of perhaps a six-week layoff have almost been halved and he will definitely be in contention for the following Saturday.

“On top of that, Simon [Everall] is back in training after taking a break and with the usual hectic period over Christmas we’ll need a full squad to choose from.”