Article by Mark Bravery
Sutton United take a break from league action this Saturday (13 January) as they host old rivals Hendon in the second round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Hendon and Sutton have played each other many times down the decades, initially in the Athenian League, with both clubs switching to the Isthmian League in 1963. In 2004 Hendon declined to join the newly-created Conference South, but Sutton's relegation back to the Isthmian (Ryman) League four years later saw the clubs reunited for a further three seasons before Paul Doswell's team won the league title and promotion in 2011.
Hendon continue to play in the Premier Division of that league, now sponsored by Bostik, and currently stand fifth, having won four league games in a row before a 1-0 home defeat to Wingate & Finchley on New Year's Day. In the previous round of the Trophy they achieved a notable 2-1 home win over National League South side Bath City.
Sutton, who overcame Truro City 1-0 in the last round, are seeing their injury problems ease, with Louis John returning to action in last Saturday's 2-0 National League victory at Gateshead, while Dean Beckwith played the first half of Monday's 7-1 Surrey Senior Cup demolition of Molesey. Nicky Bailey and Jamie Butler were out injured for those matches, and Wigan loanee Owen Evans will be expected to deputise again in goal for Butler. Tommy Wright, who netted five goals in those two games, and is now Sutton's leading scorer, will be hoping to add to his season's tally of twelve.
Hendon are managed by former Sutton goalkeeper Gary McCann. Their squad includes another former Sutton keeper, Tom Lovelock, but he is unlikely to play on Saturday having suffered a gashed knee in the New Year's Day game. The visitors' main goal threat will come from Niko Muir who has already scored 30 times this season.
Should Saturday's match end as a draw then there would be a replay at Hendon's current ground, Silver Jubilee Park in Kingsbury, probably next Tuesday evening (16th).