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Tom Greaves hoping to reach Bradford Park Avenue milestone
Talismanic striker Tom Greaves is hoping for a triple celebration as Bradford Park Avenue cross the Pennine ridge to face Curzon Ashton in an FA Cup second qualifying-round tie.
Greaves made his 199th appearance for the club in last weekend’s Blue Square Bet North defeat at Altrincham. His ideal afternoon on Saturday would be to get some time on the pitch, for Avenue to win and to notch a goal or two – but he is taking nothing for granted.
Greaves said: “Fingers crossed I’m hoping for my 200th appearance in this game. Hopefully I will start but if not I hope to get plenty of time from the bench and it would be nice to get a goal to mark the occasion.
“I struggled early season with a hamstring injury. It was unfortunate really because I came back from the close-season in good shape but picked the injury up in training.
“It was a struggle to get back because, with no reserves, I was always behind the other lads in terms of fitness.
“I’m feeling fully fit now though. I haven’t had any tweaks for a while, so I’m trying to win a place in the starting line-up.”
Avenue and Saturday’s hosts have met in the FA Cup just once before in October 1995, when they were playing home games at Batley RL’s Mount Pleasant ground and won 2-1.
When Avenue did get back to Bradford, becoming tenants at Horsfall Stadium for the 1996-97 season, they opened their campaign with a home league game against Curzon, who took the points with a 2-1 victory.
The clubs are separated by two divisions now, with Avenue higher-ranked in the Conference North. But Curzon were play-off finalists in Evo-Stik League Division One North last term.
Greaves said: “I have a couple of pals who play for Curzon and they are a very good side.
“They beat Garforth Town (one of Greaves’ two other clubs) in the play-off semi-finals but were then beaten by Witton Albion.
“They are certainly not to be taken lightly, not that we would do that with any opponent.”