AFC Ludlow 'fearless' ahead of key cup tie

AFC Ludlow boss Dave Cooper insists his side doesn't fear anyone ahead their cup clash with West Midlands Premier side Ellesmere Rangers.

The tie means a step up in class for Cooper’s men – who play two levels below Rangers.

But Ludlow have already dumped out Market Drayton Town and Coopers say s they are looking forward to Tuesday’s TJ Vickers Shropshire Premier Cup tie.

“If we can beat the best team in the competition, we can beat any team on our day,” said Cooper. "Do I fear Ellesmere? Not at all.

“All the pressure will be on them.”

AFC will be buoyed by the return of their own star man, Dale Hodge – back from university for the festive period – and Rob Boyd's comeback from injury.

Both are expected to be fit for Ellesmere.

Cooper said: “The young lads have done great for us but it’s good to be able to slot in some experience alongside them.”

But if Ludlow are to upset the odds, they will have to keep a tight grip on Ellesmere’s top marksman, former Worcester City striker Marco Adaggio.

The 26-year-old ex-Telford United player hit a league hat-trick against Bromyard Town last weekend

And the Malaga-born forward has laid down the gauntlet ahead of his visit to the Showtime Stadium.

He said: “We are on form – we’ve now won four from four and we want to keep that run going.”

For Cooper’s men, the run-up to the tie has been less straightforward.

Ludlow suffered a frustrating 3-0 defeat to mid-table Newport Town last Saturday.

With no fixture scheduled for this weekend, Cooper hopes to arrange a friendly.

And with Saturday’s result putting a dent in Ludlow’s hopes of winning West Midlands Division Two, it gives Tuesday’s game added significance.

Cooper said: “That’s the league title gone for us now, the cup’s our best chance at a trophy.

“Our boys just weren’t up for it on the weekend, we gave Newport two soft goals.

“We want to play football, and the pitch looked more ready for planting potatoes than playing on.”

Newport strikers twice picked the pocket of AFC defenders who attempted to play their way out on the uneven surface.

The dagger came late in the second-half, when a Newport forward sprung the offside trap to seal the win.

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