GATE boss Ashley Pulisciano hopes his side can see league action on Saturday after their three week lay-off, as they prepare to face second-bottom Dunkirk.
The Nottingham based side visit the Coppice in a match viewed as a crucial six pointer for both sides – with the two teams drawing 1-1 back in August.
It follows Highgate’s midweek penalty shootout victory at Old Wulfrunians after a 0-0 draw in the JW Hunt Cup second round.
A first round bye took them up against the West Midlands Regional League side in a game deprived of chances.
However, after edging the second-half, Gate went close through Lei Brown on a couple of occasions and a showstopping save from Isaac Jagroop’s effort.
A 0-0 draw after 90 minutes saw the tie go straight to penalties, with Bradley Catlow being the hero for his side when saving Jake Pearson’s spot-kick to win the shoot-out 7-6.
It presents a welcome return to match action for Pulisciano’s side to shake off any rust in the three week break, but he remains desperate for his side to improve their fortunes in the MFL Premier Divsion – Saturday’s contest proving a real opportunity to do so.
Their newly promoted opponents are also struggling with recent form, allowing the winners to potentially kick-on and drag themselves out of trouble.
A win for Loughborough University over Worcester City last weekend dropped Gate into 16th in the MFL Premier Division, Romulus sitting just a point behind and South Normanton Athletic six points adrift of Gate after they shocked Lye Town.
There was positive news for Highgate’s U21 side though after they progressed to the final of the Birmingham FA Saturday Amateur Cup – they will play Tamworth U21’s after knocking out Boldmere St Michaels with a 2-0 win in the semi-finals.
Two strikes in the second-half of the game were well-earned after Gate were the better of the two sides, with keeper Dan Farr doing well to keep his side’s advantage intact.
George Robbins pounced in the 52nd minute to punish a defensive mistake and find the net, before looping a 75th minute corner onto the head of Ben Thomas – who made sure of Highgate’s inclusion in the final.
Manager Glen Adams still sees room for improvement for his young side, but was ultimately pleased for his team’s progress.
“I didn’t think we were firing on all cylinders, nervous during a first half where Robbins and Anyanegbu were the main threat but without getting the breaks,” said the Highgate boss.
“Our first goal came somewhat against the run of play, Dan Farr made a couple of important saves and I was pleased to see two of our midfield dynamos, Robbins and Chris Dyson involved in the second goal.
He admitted he was looking forward to meeting a Tamworth side who will prove good competitors, given the two teams have taken a win apiece in their previous two meetings.
Highgate U21’s now look ahead to a second successive semi-final fixture, taking on Continental Star in an away tie in the Midland Football League U21 Bowl.