Nantwich Town manager Phil Parkinson says FA Cup fourth round qualifier will be determined by strong defence

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Nantwich Town manager Phil Parkinson believes Saturday’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie with Stourbridge will be decided by which team has the stronger defence.

The Dabbers hope to reach the first round proper for just the second time, having only done so once previously in 2011.

But Parkinson acknowledged that his side face a tough test to do so.

He said: “It’s huge for any non-league team and it would be huge for us.”

“It’s only the third time in the club’s history that we’ve got this far in qualifying.

“That’s no mean feat.

“We’ve had a great cup run so far. It’s been great for the club.

“I’m really proud of my players whatever happens on Saturday.”

The match takes place at the Weaver Stadium on October 15.

If the Dabbers reach the first round, it could earn the club £12,500 in prize money.

Stourbridge and Nantwich have already met at the Weaver Stadium this season.

Parkinson added: “We know what to expect of them. They’ve got a couple of key players who we need to keep quiet and we know who their danger men are.

“The game will be won by which defence keeps the other team’s forwards quiet because we’re quite similar teams and there are quality players on each.”

Nantwich’s 1-0 win over Rushall Olympic on Tuesday night – their first home league win of the campaign – stretched their unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions.

Parkinson hopes they can continue that run this weekend, where the likes of Sean Cooke – who has scored 10 goals in 15 games this term – could prove crucial.

“He’s been really important so far this season,” he said on Cooke. “It helps to have a player in such good goal-scoring form.

“We’ve got some real match-winners within our squad, but so have Stourbridge.

“Luke Benbow is probably the best striker in the league on his day and Chris Lait is a very good midfielder. He’s powerful and has the ability to win a game.

“With Matt Dodd and a few others, they’ve got plenty of players capable of winning the game for them. It will be down to which team can defend best.”

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