Boston United have the strength to challenge for glory, says Jason Stokes
JASON Stokes believes Boston United have the strength in depth to challenge for glory on two fronts this season.
The winger is among the players to have enjoyed a run in the side while Spencer Weir-Daley and Ben Fairclough served three-match suspensions.
The Pilgrims coped well in the key duo's absence, beating county rivals Gainsborough Trinity in Blue Square Bet North and Colwyn Bay in the FA Trophy before last Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Guiseley.
Stokes believes he and the likes of Kallum Smith and Charley Sanders have taken their chances with both hands.
He insists, with Weir-Daley and Fairclough now available, that manager Jason Lee will have a selection headache ahead important games in the league and Trophy.
"I saw this as an opportunity, a couple of players did," said the former Rossington winger.
"Charley and Kallum have come in and done really well and that might create a bit of a headache for the gaffer.
"Now Spencer and Ben are back, we'll have a stronger bench."
After stepping up from the Northern Counties East League, Stokes admits he has taken time to acclimatise to Blue Square Bet North.
But after getting more minutes under his belt in recent weeks, he now feels at home.
"I've had four 90-minutes and I've enjoyed it. I feel comfortable on the pitch and hopefully that keeps me in the side," he said.
"My fitness is coming on without a doubt. I definitely wasn't fit enough for the first five or 10 games.
"Ian (Freeman, Boston's fitness coach) has helped me out and I'd like to thank him for that."
While manager Lee is relieved to have Weir-Daley and Fairclough available again, he has praised the impact of his squad players.
"Our squad is not the biggest so I'll give the boys credit. We've done well while those two have been out," said Lee.
"I've been delighted with Jason and Kallum. They need to keep that up as I know they want to stay in the side.
Following last night's league clash with Solihull Moors, the Pilgrims turn their attention back to the FA Trophy with Saturday's first round clash with Skelmersdale United at the Jakemans Stadium (3pm).
"Hopefully we can have a run in that. You never know, we might get to Wembley and make a bit of money for the club," added Stokes.
The Pilgrims will be favourites to progress, but will face a side used to winning in the Evo-Stik Division One (North).
Skelmersdale are third in the table, but with games in hand on their rivals after winning 11 of their 12 league games so far.
"I know they're unbeaten in the league and they've only lost in cup games," said Lee, who also has Wembley in his sights.
"They're confident and they know how to win games.
"It won't be an easy game, but it one we expect to do well in.
"It's at home so we're looking forward to it."