DEREK GOULDING hopes to have star striker Niall Cummins back available this weekend, as Burscough prepare to begin their FA Trophy campaign.
The Linnets will take on Evo-Stik First Division North rivals Wakefield at Victoria Park this weekend looking to embark upon a money-spinning run in Non-League football's premier cup competition.
And Goulding hopes to have leading scorer Cummins, who has been struggling with a persistent Achilles problem of late, back in his squad for the tie. The former AFC Blackpool forward has netted three times so far this season, having made a big impact after his arrival at the club last season.
“He is the main one ahead of the weekend,” said Goulding. “He's had this Achilles knock that he sustained against Radcliffe Borough, and it has been lingering on, but he is close to a return. We hope he will be back for the weekend.
“It will be a big boost to get him back. He makes a difference to us when he plays, so it goes without saying we want him available.
“But long-term, we need him to be at full fitness. It will be better for him and better for us, because if he is at peak fitness he will make a big impact on the league.”
Goulding, who will be without Jamil Adam for the visit of Wakefield, saw his side surrender a two-goal lead at Ossett Albion last weekend, but is targeting a strong showing in the Trophy, with the financial rewards which follow.
“We will put out as strong a team as possible,” he said. “A run in this competition is something we would love to have.
“Everyone is aware of the financial benefits involved with the FA Trophy.
“ It may not command the national media attention that the FA Cup does, but our level it is the big cup competition, and to get good progress in it can be great for the club, on and off the field. We want to go as far as we can in the competition, of course.”
Goulding expressed his frustration at seeing his side denied by a stoppage-time leveller at Ossett last weekend, and has called upon his players to be more “assertive” when protecting a lead in games.
“That's where we can perhaps improve,” he added. “We were two up on Saturday and should have killed the game off. Instead we left with a draw, and a lesson to be learnt.”
Burscough v Wakefield, FA Trophy, Victoria Park, Saturday, kick-off 3pm