Six-month wait finally coming to an end for Kidsgrove boss Scott Dundas


Scott Dundas’ long wait will finally come to an end tomorrow when he takes charge of Kidsgrove Athletic for the first time in a competitive game.

Dundas has been in post for six months – replacing Ryan Austin in the dug-out – but because of the coronavirus pandemic has had to be patient for his bow.

That will come to an end this weekend, though, as Grove kick off their season in the FA Cup with a preliminary round tie at home against Chasetown.

It’s the start of a new Kidsgrove chapter for Dundas after he enjoyed a prolific spell as a player with the club. He famously scored 53 goals in one season in the 1997/98 campaign, helped Grove to a league title, a League Cup and a run to the FA Vase semi-final in his playing days.

And to add a little bit of extra spice to his Kidsgrove managerial bow, tomorrow’s opponents are one of Dundas’ former clubs.

He spent three seasons as the Scholars’ manager before leaving last season.

“It feels a bit strange being in the job for six months and not having played a game, but we’re looking forward to it,” said Dundas.

“It has been weird because football was suspended when I was appointed and then the season was cancelled.

“I guess it’s typical that my first game should be against Chasetown. Ryan Austin, who is now at Congleton, text me before the draw and said we’d either get Chasetown or Congleton.

“When the draw was made, he was the first person to contact me to say ‘I told you so’.

“For me it doesn’t add too much because I didn’t have a bad time at the club. We got to the play-offs in the first season, then lost a few players and were moved around the leagues.

“If we had reached the play-offs in my third season that might have been seen as progress, but we had set the bar high by reaching them in year one.

“It’s just another game for us. There’s my link and a couple of the players, but we are desperate to win, especially with the prize money at stake.”

Neil Baker’s Leek Town entertain Sporting Khalsa in the FA Cup tomorrow.

The winners of tomorrow’s tie will bank £1,444 – a significant reduction from last year’s money.

They are crucial funds for non-league clubs after seeing their income dry up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Kidsgrove’s cup clash will also enable Dundas to cast his eye over his squad in a competitive environment for the first time.

He has brought in a handful of new signings, but was delighted to have kept the majority of last year’s squad, including influential striker Ant Malbon.

“Some players didn’t want to stat, but we kept 10 or 11 of them and that makes a big difference as a manager,” added Dundas.

“You don’t have to go out looking for 18 new players. The lads have come together well during pre-season.

“At the start there was no training, then we were allowed small groups and it developed from there.

“I’ve been really pleased with the preparation. Results-wise we have done well, but also the results of the players’ fitness was very good.

“They were in lockdown and training on their own, so they couldn’t wait to get back to playing.

“The players are confident. I obviously know a little bit about Chasetown and there’s probably seven or eight lads in their side who were there when I was.

“But like a lot of clubs they have recruited and have added 10 or 11 to the group.”

LEEK Town entertain Sporting Khalsa in their preliminary round tie. Neil Baker’s Betvictor League South East Division side will be heavy favourites to progress against their Midland League opponents.

Sporting Khalsa knocked out Boldmere St Michaels in the previous round – and Baker isn’t taking any chances.

“We have had them watched twice. They have hit the ground running, won both games, they are very competitive and have some decent players for the level they are playing at,” he said.

“This is the first time I can recall playing in the FA Cup before we’ve had a league game. So, that in itself isn’t ideal, but it is what it is.”

Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Ryan Austin’s CONGLETON TOWN are at home to Skelmersdale United after defeating Burscough on penalties in the extra preliminary round.

HANLEY TOWN beat Lye Town in their first tie and are now looking to progress further by seeing off Gresley Rovers at Potteries Park.

NEWCASTLE TOWN also have home advantage as they play Halesowen.

SANDBACH take on AFC Liverpool in the delayed final of the Playermatch.com Cup, while in tomorrow’s Midland League action, UTTOXETER travel to Hinckley AFC, ROCESTER host Nuneaton Griff and STAFFORD RANGERS entertain Paget Rangers as they chase back-to back wins.





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