It’s been a testing start to the season for Emley AFC boss Richard Tracey with players being unavailable – but things are getting better on the team selection front.

Emley host Eccleshill United tonight (Tuesday) hunting down their first three-point haul since being promoted to the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

Tracey said: “We have a few players out again due to injury or unavailability but we are getting more and more back which is a positive.

“I can start to pick some of the more experienced lads and near enough from a full squad. I’m excited about seeing what we can do out on the pitch in the next few weeks.”

Emley have had two draws and an FA Cup win so far before last Saturday’s game against Staveley was postponed due to Covid in the opposition squad.

“I think if you take into context what we’ve already gone through it’s not been a bad start,” said Tracey. “At Winterton we had 10 players out including all three keepers so I had to scramble to bring a replacement in at the last minute. 

“We knew that was a tough game and it turned out to be just that. To come away with a draw was a good result. 

“I thought against Garforth we could have won the game with 10 minutes to go. We had a great chance and missed it. I think overall that was an under-par performance and we still had the joy and tiredness from the cup game in us. 

“We beat Congleton in the FA Cup and put in an outstanding performance which I was delighted with. So maybe we were still coming off the highs of that when we played Garforth. On reflection that feels like two points dropped but hey-ho we move on.” 

Tracey said he was looking forward to tonight’s game after missing out on Saturday and added: “Eccleshill will be a tough test for us, but we are glad to be back on home soil.

“We know what we are coming up against with them, they are strong and physical and dynamic on the ball. We know we will need to be at our best to beat them. 

“We played them in pre-season last year. They are a hard working team and, although we won that game, it was a pre-season fixture and this game is a battle for three points.”