Kidsgrove Athletic captain Anthony Malbon is hoping for his team to progress into the Staffordshire senior cup semi-final.
The Grove face a tough test this Tuesday in the quarter final of the senior cup as they travel away to Stafford Rangers.
Speaking about his aspirations for this season, the 26-year-old striker said: “Just to get to a final would be a great achievement for me and the team.
Kidsgrove reached the Senior cup final in 2016 but were beaten 4-1 by Rushall Olympic, which was Malbon’s first full season at the club.
“A couple of years ago we reached the final and lost but it’s all about getting that buzz again and it is something to look forward to at the end of the season.
"Hopefully we can get to the final this season which will be an incredible achievement for the team,” added Malbon.
The Grove are without a win in their last five games in all competitions, and their last victory was over a month ago when they beat Spalding united 3-1.
Malbon said: “To be fair some of the results have not got our way, we have taken the lead multiple times in games but some individual errors have cost us the three points.
“We need to do better in the league, so far our performances have not been up to our standards.”
Kidsgrove Athletics appointed Will Ryder as head coach last December to assist manager Ryan Austin.
“Ever since Will has come in to the club, we have worked on different drills and styles in training. We look more organised and professional as a team.
"Will has given us more confidence and every game we play we feel that we can get something out of it”, added Malbon.
Injuries have kept Malbon out for a big part of the season and the striker claims the injuries have stopped him getting 100% match fit.
“Injuries have affected me massively, the problem is in the last year I have had to change the style of my play", he said.
“I have had to become more of a target man for other people and bring them into play. Whereas all my life I have been that player who wants to be on the ball and take players on.
“I had a knee injury early this season and I have not been able to train properly. The injury still affects me a lot because I can’t get match fit and I need to take pain killers just to get through games.”
When he is not playing football for Kidsgrove Athletic, Malbon works alongside Kidsgrove Athletic vice chairman Ian Cooper (who runs Coopers Pitch Care).
“I work as a football groundsman, in a sense I am really lucky as I work for Ian, we have a great understanding on and off the pitch”, explained Malbon.
“We work on grounds up and down the Staffordshire region, most of our work is for local football pitches and we also work on the Kidsgrove’s pitch at the Novus Stadium.
“There are positives for working with the vice chairman of the team as he (Ian) lets me off early when we have got a football game to help me prepare for it. “
Malbon was scouted by Derby county when he was 15-years-old. He spent one year in the youth team.
Malbon looking back at his time at Derby said: “I really enjoyed my time at Derby County, I was young then and was just around the age to start considering my future.
“It was a great experience for me because I learnt and developed my football skills.
“My hard work payed off as I was offered a one year scholarship with Derby. Around that time Port Vale were also interested in taking me on. So, I turned down Derby County to sign for Port Vale, the reason for this was because I wanted to move closer to my family and friends.”
The Kidsgrove captain has had successful spells Newcastle town and Kidderminster Harriers. Malbon eventually signed for Kidsgrove Athletic from Stalybridge Celtic in December 2014.
The striker’s contract expires this summer but is unsure about his future at Kidsgrove, Malbon turned down a chance to join Nantwich Town in 2016 but now will look to see what is on the table at the end of the season.
“There are still a lot of things to play for, I’m not going to say that I am going to leave or going to stay either. I just want to see what happens to the club until the end of the season.
“Obviously I would like to stay but I don’t want any regret in my career, if I get an opportunity to play in higher leagues, I will think about it seriously.
“So far, I have enjoyed my time at Kidsgrove, but at times it has been up and down. On a personal level, I scored and created a lot of goals as well as captaining the club which I have very much enjoyed," added Malbon
Kidsgrove travel to Marston Road on Tuesday 27th January 2018, where they take on Stafford Rangers in the Staffordshire senior cup quarter final. Kick off will take place at 7.45pm.
Updated 20:45 - 1 May 2018 by Shahed Popat Popat