WHEN 1874 Northwich were originally scheduled to host Abbey Hulton United last month, they had one eye on a testing run of matches that followed.

That meeting was postponed, along with a string of others that means a side managed by Paul Bowyer and Wayne Goodison has played only twice in the past four weeks.

Their most recent outing was a fortnight ago when they dispatched Hanley Town in a North West Counties League fixture.

That lack of match practice will influence the duo when they select a side to play a rearranged Macron Cup tie tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.

“We’ll approach it in a different manner now,” said Goodison.

“Originally, we intended to shuffle things around because we had a glut of difficult games ahead of us in December.

“Our plan was only to train once this month – instead we’ve had the lads together four or five times.

“That does change our thinking; we had it sketched out who we wanted to pick and when to make sure everybody had time on the field.”

1874 have won their past eight matches in all competitions, and have momentum.

Abbey Hulton, victors only once since mid-October, do not.

They travel to St Luke’s Barton Stadium as underdogs, and to make their debut in the competition after being promoted from the Staffordshire County Senior League.

Goodison: “We’ll be asking the lads to prove their mind-set hasn’t changed despite the disruption.

“That’s important, particularly ahead of three league games over Christmas that gives us an opportunity to make inroads into the gap between us and the teams at the top of the table.

“It would be disappointing to go into those having been knocked out of the league cup.”