Wisbech Town will have to keep St Ives striker Karl Gibbs in check if they are to progress in the FA Vase on Saturday.
Gibbs has scored 17 goals in 18 games this season to help push the Saints to the top of the United Counties League and has filled the void left by star striker Connor Washington’s move to Newport County.
The striker also did well for Peterborough Northern Star last season and they too, like St Ives, reached the quarter-finals of the FA Vase before losing out to eventual winners Dunston, who also beat Wisbech.
Gibbs’s success is no surprise to Steve Appleby as he tried to sign him from Northern Star two years ago and Spalding had a lucrative offer to Gibbs turned down last week.
He said: “I went in for him as he is a good striker at this level and he is a handful. St Ives are having a good season and I am sure it will be a great game. It will be who performs best on the day and I have a lot of confidence in my team at the moment.”
Wisbech will also come up against former Fenmen Lee Ellison, Stuart and David Cobb in the St Ives ranks as well as goalkeeper Niall Conroy-Owen who played one game this season when Lea Jordan was injured.
Appleby will be without Paul Cousins, Jon Fairweather and Anthony Reeve, all suspended, and he is trying to borrow a defender for Saturday’s game.
He revealed: “I have a couple of options but they both have midweek games so I will not know until Wednesday who it will be. If that does not happen we will have to switch someone else to defence but we will still have a decent side.
“We felt unlucky in the Vase last season and we would like to do better this year.”