Alford's chance for revenge

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The Independent Football

The big game in this weekend's FA Umbro Trophy fourth round sees Yeovil Town, third in the Nationwide Conference, entertain fourth-placed Doncaster Rovers at what should be a packed Huish Park tomorrow.

On Tuesday Yeovil increased their advantage over Doncaster in the Conference to six points with a point from a 2-2 home draw, in a game in which they led 2-0 after 12 minutes, against Forest Green Rovers. The South Yorkshire side have, however, played two fewer matches than their Somerset rivals. Tomorrow, though, both sides will take a break from their pursuit of the league's top two, Boston United and Dagenham & Redbridge, and turn their attention to attaining cup success.

For Yeovil and Doncaster the Trophy represents their best chance of glory this season. Boston, who are out of the Trophy, are six points ahead of Yeovil and have three games in hand. The Yeovil manager, Gary Johnson, is no mood to give up on the title race, though.

"Even though we still we are in the title race 100 per cent, we have to step out of the league and focus on the Trophy," Johnson said this week.

"Doncaster are on a good run and, despite the Forest Green game, so are we. Something has to give."

One Yeovil player with a special incentive to do well is their burly centre-forward Carl Alford. Once non-League football's record buy, when Rushden & Diamonds paid £85,000 for him, he had a dire 2000-01 season with Doncaster after a £50,000 switch from Stevenage Borough and moved to Somerset last summer.

"I don't think I got a fair crack of the whip at Doncaster," Alford said. As well as suffering from injuries and taking stick for his failure to score goals, he had to put up with unfounded allegations of cocaine abuse made by some Rovers fans. He felt obliged to take drug tests to prove his innocence.

Elsewhere in the Trophy, Dagenham & Redbridge entertain Telford United. When the two sides met at Victoria Road in the Conference recently the Shropshire side had a shock 5-1 win.

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