By Liam Moakes Thursday 06 September 2012 Updated: 10/09 14:48
REDDITCH United are waiting on the fitness of striker Mark Danks as they prepare to welcome Hednesford Town to the Valley Stadium tomorrow for an FA Cup first qualifying round clash.
The hosts will have their eye on revenge following last season's exit to the Pitmen in the same competition, but United manager Simon Redhead knows his side will have to improve on their performances in their last two matches if they are to progress and pick up the £3,000 prize money.
They may have to do so without Danks, who is racing against time to be fit after spending time in hospital this week with a kidney infection, which ruled him out of Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Bedford Town in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.
The return of Danks to the side as quickly as possible is key admitted Redhead, whose side were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Weymouth on Saturday and have scored just four times in six games this season in taking six points to sit 15th in the table.
"We have to find a way of scoring more goals as soon as possible and Mark has a big role to play in that," said Redhead, whose side are still waiting for defender Alex Hickman to return from a toe injury.
"I think we have deserved more points than we have picked up so far as we have played well in large periods of games, but we need to find a greater cutting edge and be more clinical in front of goal.
"There are positives as we have looked fairly solid defensively and there's a long way to go. With the players we have here I am confident of improvement."
Redditch appeared well set to claim maximum points in midweek when they led at Bedford through Will Richards' 32nd minute header from Jack Cresswell's corner.
However, Connor Deards was guilty of a glaring miss at the start of the second half and the visitors were made to pay as Nick Beasant headed Town level midway through the second half before former Redditch defender Jamie Grimes notched the third headed goal of the game 11 minutes from time to clinch the spoils for the hosts.
The Reds endured similar frustration on Saturday as they were held to a goalless draw at the Valley by Weymouth.
Again Deards drew a blank as his early strike was well saved before he struck the post towards the end of the first half.
In between the Terras' Ben Joyce saw Reds keeper Niall Cooper produce a superb save to tip his effort over the bar.
In the second period Cooper saved well from Dan Smith whilst at the other end Liam McDonald fired just wide.
Redditch face Birmingham City in the Birmingham Senior Cup first round at the Valley Stadium on Tuesday, unless tomorrow's FA Cup tie ends in a draw, which would see them travel to Hednesford for a replay.
On Sunday (noon kick-off) a Reds XI takes on a Manchester United legends team expected to feature Denis Irwin, Sammy McIlroy and Frank Stapleton amongst others, with proceeds going to charities including Help for Heroes.
Tickets cost £5 and are available on the day, with VIP access £40. For more details call the club on 01527 67450.
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