SILSDEN manager Danny Forrest is hopeful that this Saturday’s friendly with Padiham will stand them in good stead for a mouthwatering cup tie.

The Cobbydalers will visit Bradford District rivals Eccleshill United in the FA Cup extra preliminary round next Tuesday, an occasion made all the more intriguing by the likes of strikers Antony Brown and Khurram Shazad returning to face their old club.

Both of them started up front in Silsden's home friendly with Bradford (Park Avenue) last Saturday, a game in which Forrest felt his side acquitted themselves well despite a 2-1 defeat.

That took place in front of 139 fans, on the day spectators were allowed back into some non-league fixtures.

Up to 300 could attend the game at Eccleshill and discussing the FA Cup clash, Forrest said: "It's very exciting for local football, especially after months without any competitive games.

"I know from when I was a player it's nice to go back to your old clubs and see some familiar faces, and there's four or five of our lads who are in that boat who will want to perform well.

"It adds a bit of extra spice for them, but no matter what, we'll be as professional as we can and see if we can get a result."

Another former Eccleshill player is full back Carlton Pownall, who has come in from Shelley, a vital signing given that poor left back Connor Thompson suffered a broken leg in training.

Pownall started against Avenue, as did goalscorer Shaun Airey, with the experienced former Barnoldswick Town centre back returning to Silsden after nearly a decade away.

Exciting new winger Dylan Drovi was named on the bench. The teenager used to be in Bradford City's academy.

Discussing the Avenue game, Forrest said: "It was enjoyable, and good to test ourselves against a side who are three leagues higher than us.

"The way my lads have been approaching training and games, their application has been spot on.

"I thought we did really well against Avenue and limited them to not many chances.

"We maybe could have done more going forward but I think generally we've got a great platform to build on."

And Forrest feels Padiham is the perfect test on Saturday too, explaining: "We’ve not got the results in our friendlies against Mossley, Clitheroe and Avenue, but that was a bit irrelevant, as they all play at a higher level than us.

"But Padiham is relevant ahead of that Eccleshill game. They play at the same level as us and we came across them a few times when we were in the North West Counties League.

"It should give us a true feeling of where we're at."

Silsden will host Avro or Bootle on Saturday, September 12 if they get through against Eccleshill in the FA Cup.

They are in FA Vase action at home to Garstang the following weekend, while their Northern Counties East League season, like most teams, gets underway on Tuesday, September 22.

They will be away to Garforth Town.

Talking about competitive games being back in place, Forrest said: "It's nice to have a schedule in place, as we went into the unknown when we returned to training.

"We wanted to be prepared for everything, and we've managed to keep everyone's heads focused and kept the players challenged during training.

"It's good to have the league season a few weeks away and it's nice to have supporters back too.

"Everyone was ready for it last Saturday and was pretty hyped. I just hope it all runs smoothly going forward."

Silsden have just released their season ticket prices. They will cost adults just £60 (less than £3.20 per game) and concessions (over 60s, students and children aged 11-17) will only be £30.

To order your season ticket, contact Peter Hanson on