PAUL Moore has admitted he’d have liked more time to prepare his Northwich Victoria team for an FA Cup encounter with 1874 Northwich on Saturday.

Vics began pre-season training later than their rivals, and were unsure of their place in the North West Counties League until the middle of June.

Their manager told the Guardian his squad is incomplete ahead of a highly-anticipated derby encounter.

"Maybe they have a bit of an advantage and are ahead of us because they’ve signed new players and kept others that they want,” he said.

“We’re a little bit behind, but we’re working flat out to close that gap.”

However that does not mean he believes his side has no chance in the extra preliminary round clash.

Just the opposite, in fact.

“They won’t know much about us, and I think we can surprise them,” he added.

“The pressure is on 1874 more than us; it was only a few weeks ago that we didn’t know if we’d even be in the competition.

“Since then we’ve put together a group that I think has a good mix of experience and youth.

“We’re in a good place, and the lads we have got on board are right up for it.

“They’ve shown glimpses of what they can do, particularly in the win against Skelmersdale, and that’s reason to be optimistic.

“To get through would be a huge boost for us, and a fitting reward for those people who have given so much simply to make sure we’re there to play a game of any description.”

Moore has added Sam Marshall to his squad in time for tomorrow’s game, but Jake Pritchard and Ian Willis – both likely starters – are unavailable.

He has persuaded captain Reece Lyndon to stay following Vics’ demotion from the Northern Premier League at the end of last season, while John Bennett and Stuart McDonald have returned too.

Former Mossley front man Brian Matthews will lead their attack.

Moore added: “I think we’ve done well with the limited resources available.

“It’s possible that this game has arrived too early for us, if I’m honest.

“You never know in a cup game though, do you? There will be nerves, I’m sure of that, and a derby is always unpredictable.”