IAN LONG insists nobody at Alvechurch will get carried away by their five-match winning run as they prepare for their toughest sequence of fixtures so far this season.
Substitute Aaron Lloyd’s strike with his first touch of the game fired Church through last weekend’s FA Cup tie at ten-man Stratford Town.
Lloyd slotted home 12 minutes from time after Stratford had played with ten men from the 35th minute when Cody Fisher was red-carded for clattering into Josh Ezewele.
The 1-0 win secured £6,000 in prize money and a home tie in the second qualifying round at home to Corby Town next Saturday
Before then, however, Alvechurch head to Hitchin Town on Saturday in the Evo-Stik South Premier Central before entertaining high-flying Stourbridge on Tuesday.
Then, after the cup tie, Long’s men welcome leaders Kettering Town to Lye Meadow on September 29.
It is a run which, the manager suggests, will provide a real measure of how his players are coping in their first year at Step Three.
“We’ve had five wins on the spin, three in the cup, and we’re up to tenth in the table, with a game in hand,” said Long.
“We’re delighted with that because we always knew this was going to be a season of consolidation.
“There are a few people getting excited, which is great, but we need to keep our feet on the ground.
“The next couple of weeks will be really challenging – going away to Hitchin, who are an established Premier club, playing Stourbridge and Kettering, who are both up there and I expect to be up there battling for the title, and with the cup in between.
“We’re still learning about the level but I would say there’s such a sense of togetherness in the squad and club.
“It’s probably the best since I’ve been at the club. The players are a pleasure to work with.”
Ryan Winwood is set to miss out this weekend, with the midfielder picking up a hamstring injury, but he is expected to be fit for the Stourbridge game.
Meanwhile, Long has made an approach for Stourbridge midfielder Brad Birch after the exit of Babucar Sauane to Halesowen Town.
However, the odds of signing the former Worcester City and Littleton player seemed to have lengthened after Birch returned to the Glassboys’ starting line-up.