Depleted Robins meet rivals
ELY City will be presented with the Ridgeons League Division One Team of the Month award for November before Saturday s crucial encounter with Debenham, but have selection problems ahead of the clash with their promotion rivals. City and their opponents
ELY City will be presented with the Ridgeons League Division One Team of the Month award for November before Saturday's crucial encounter with Debenham, but have selection problems ahead of the clash with their promotion rivals.
City and their opponents boast virtually identical records so far this season - including goal difference - but Debenham currently have a game in hand.
Robins' boss Dennis Lightning is confident that Brady Stone will have recovered from a long-term ankle injury to play on Saturday, and is likewise optimistic that Andy Pettit will be available for selection.
But he will definitely be without the services of Robbie Mason as the player starts a two-match suspension, and Lightning's striking problems have been compounded by Tom Beech's decision to leave the club in favour of Arlesey Town.
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"We've always had a bit of a 'love-hate' relationship," said Lightning in the wake of Beech's departure, adding: "He's a complex character."
The Ely boss is left with a dilemma though.
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"It's left us with a bit of a hole on Saturday, but we are hopeful of signing a new striker. Whether it will be in time for the match or not I don't know."
If Lightning fails in his bid to sign an immediate replacement, he is likely to play either Simon Warren or Dave Daniels up front.
Debenham appear to have no such worries, with 18-goal Stuart Joplin the major threat as far as City's defence is concerned.
"When you are in the position we are in," said Lightning, "every game is a must-win game. It's a difficult league and all the top teams want to get into the Premier Division. It's always tough when you play Debenham."
n Ely City will face fellow promotion contenders Whitton United in the last four of the Ridgeons First Division Knock-Out Cup, so in order to reach the final they will have to beat the team with the best goal difference in the section.
Halstead Town face Stowmarket Town in the other semi-final, with both ties being played on February 12, 2008.
In the Quarter Finals of the Ridgeons League Challenge Cup, Ely face a trip to Gorleston.