Jonny Drake looks at four key players for our FA Trophy opponents, Basford United, together with manager Martin Curruthers.
Goalkeeper: Kieran Preston
What does he offer Basford? Basford’s shot-stopper possesses fantastic reflexes and a big kick. His distribution is accurate and he likes to aim his kicks towards the right-back on the halfway line. Preston has kept three clean sheets so far this season.
What other clubs has he played for? Derby County, Bristol Rovers (2015-2016), Stafford Rangers (2016) and Grantham Town (2016-2018).
How did he do last season? Preston made 56 appearances for Grantham last season, keeping 13 clean sheets in all competitions. The keeper starred in the same team as Spireites striker Lee Shaw as the Gingerbreads reached the play-off final before losing 2-0 to Ashton United.
Defender: Liam Bateman
What does he offer Basford? The full-back has blistering pace which he uses when racing forward and joining the attack, providing a serious threat down the flanks. He is strong when making tackles, accurate with his crosses and widely considered Basford’s most consistent player. His career at Aston Villa was cut short by a leg break and compartment syndrome that nearly left him without a calf.
What other clubs has he played for? Aston Villa (2012-2015) and Kettering Town (2015-2018).
How did he do last season? Bateman played 36 games for Kettering Town last season in all competitions and scored one goal from right-back. The defender helped Kettering to a fourth-place finish in the Southern League Premier Division. The Poppies lost 3-1 to Slough Town in the semi-final.
Midfielder: Jack Thomas
What does he offer Basford? Jack Thomas runs the midfield, box-to-box. He is a threat going forward and has a habit of winning penalties. If needed, he can also play anywhere from right-back to left-wing in a front three and is in contention for Basford’s Man of the Match more often than not.
What other clubs has he played for? Mansfield Town (2014-2018), Hednesford Town on loan (2014-2015), Barrow on loan (2017), Boston United on loan (2017) and Tamworth on loan (2018).
How did he do last season? Thomas made one substitute appearance for Mansfield Town last season but spent most of the year on loan at Boston, who finished ninth in the National League North. He was released by the Stags at the end of the season.
Forward: Nathan Watson
What does he offer Basford? Nat Watson is the top scorer in the Evo-Stik Premier Division with 15 goals this season. He was Man of the Match with two goals and one assist when Basford dominated then top of the league Scarborough, beating them 3-1. Watson has a lethal strike and quick feet which make him a threat anywhere along Basford’s front three.
What other clubs has he played for? Coalville Town (2014-2018).
How did he do last season? Watson scored 33 goals and grabbed numerous assists for Coalville Town last season in all competitions, playing a vital role in getting them to two cup finals and winning the Leicestershire Challenge Cup. The Ravens finished 20th in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
Manager: Martin Carruthers
The current Basford United manager started his playing career at Aston Villa in 1990 at the age of 18. He was there for three years before playing for Hull City, Stoke City (where he signed for around £400,000), Peterborough United and Southend before the turn of the millennia. It was at Scunthorpe and Southend where the centre-forward enjoyed his best run of form, scoring 60 goals in 136 games for the two clubs between 1999 and 2003. Over the next nine years he enjoyed spells at Macclesfield Town, Boston United, Lincoln City, Cambridge United, Grantham Town and Ilkeston Town. He joined Basford United in 2012 as a player and became the first-team manager in 2013. Basford have enjoyed five promotions since the 2012/13 season and Carruthers also helped the club to their best FA Cup performance last season, as they reached the third qualifying round for the first time.