BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Keith Draper believes his side cannot afford to take bottom side Blackwood for granted.
The Rouslers face their fellow newly-promoted side at the Victoria Ground on Saturday (3pm ko) with both clubs having contrasting starts to life in the Midland Combination Premier.
Although Sporting are currently in third place, believes the result of this top versus bottom clash is not a forgone conclusion.
Saturday’s opponents recorded an impressive win over Atherstone to signal their improvement under the stewardship of Vaughan Pearshouse, who up until the summer had forged a successful seven-year partnership with Sporting’s joint manager Graham Scott.
The pair guided Alvechurch to the Worcestershire Senior Urn final last year, before Scott went his separate way and joined Bromsgrove.
Blackwood also made a bid for the Rouslers’ prolific hitman Chris Conway in the summer but he decided to remain with the Victoria Ground outfit.
Draper said: “No game is easy and Blackwood is going to be a test.
“The clubs know each other very well and there’s lots of connections. Graham and Vaughan know each others’ styles and tactics very well and I am sure Blackwood will want to turn the table upside down.
“So we’ll be taking it very seriously and trying to make sure we keep on our good run.”
Draper is expecting a host of players who missed Saturday’s 4-2 win over Bloxwich in the Les James Memorial Challenge Cup to be available, although striker Chris Morrison (neck) is a doubt.
Sporting go into Saturday’s clash on the back of a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions after edging out Stafford 1-0 last week thanks to Morrison’s winner, before seeing off Bloxwich in the cup.
Draper added: “We were missing quite a few players for Saturday but we gave some lads from the reserves a go and they did well.
“We were 4-0 up and even though we conceded twice late on that was to tiredness.”
Sporting booked their spot in the second round of the Smedley Crooke Challenge Cup on Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over Dudley Town.
Young gun Jovan Blake-Walker bagged a brace, while Conway and Karl Fellows hit the back of the net.