MIDLAND Football League Division Two rivals Fairfield Villa and Barnt Green Spartak are bracing themselves for big weekends ahead against stern opposition.
Keith Draper’s Villa head to The Trevor Brown Memorial Ground in Boldmere to take on a youthful Solihull United side that have swept nearly all before them, pitting them at the top the table for the majority of the season.
The Swans were beaten 3-1 in October’s reverse fixture at The Recreation Ground, despite Solihull’s Ryan Andrews seeing red. Dan Ludlow’s goal proved futile with Arman Khoshkhoo netting a hat-trick in that encounter.
Fortunes have been looking up since then however, as Fairfield have won four, drawn once and lost just three times in their subsequent eight league games, pitting them in ninth place.
Barnt Green Spartak sit one position below in tenth, and face an equally testing challenge in the Les James Challenge Cup against Feckenham.
While the two teams have enjoyed contrasting fortunes in the league, with the Millers up in fourth and Spartak consolidating mid-table, the incentive of a place in the last four of the competition will no doubt prove a real leveller in Saturday’s quarter-final clash at The Pavilions (2.45pm).
The winner of the tie will face Division Three opposition in Inkberrow or Coventry Plumbing in the semi-finals, an opportunity which the managerial duo of GJ Singh and Neil Martin will view as being an ideal route to the final.
In terms of recent history, Barnt Green have the upper hand having won the previous encounter in a 2-1 win on the road back in September.
Then, Mark Steele and substitute Josh Pitters found the net against ten-man Feckenham, with Ben Ellicott netting the reply after Jake Donnelly’s red card.