THE biggest crowd of the season is expected at Zembard Lane on Saturday when Chard Town entertain neighbours Bridport in the second round of the Les Phillips Cup (3pm), writes Colin Dunford.

There is added spice to the occasion with former Chard manager of three years, Adam Fricker, and assistant Jason Behan (who both still live in the town) now in charge at Bridport and having 13 ex-Chard players on their books. 

One of those players, goalkeeper Jason Hutchings, is the son of Chard reserve team manager Ivor Hutchings. 

In his second spell at Bridport, Fricker has led them to a good run in the FA Cup and they are currently comfortably placed in the Western League, Premier Division. 

In his last year at Chard, Fricker saw his side finish in third place in Division 1 and no fewer than seven of those players are expected to feature in the Bridport starting line-up. 

Fricker’s well published reason for leaving Chard was that the club were unable to enter FA competitions and could not be promoted, due to the FA’s ruling on the slope at the ground - something which could now put the Robins' Western League status in jeopardy.

READ MORE: Robins to "fight tooth and nail" for Western League status

Chard boss Paul Down, now in his second season, picked up the pieces (starting with just seven players) and has done a tremendous job in steering Chard to a mid-table finish last season and their current eighth spot in the standings.

With Chard’s match at Welton postponed, Down took the opportunity to watch Bridport at Bradford in a 5-2 defeat last Saturday. 

He described it as “useful in preparing for our biggest game of the season on many levels”. 

He added: “I think it is going to be important to channel emotions and aggression in the right direction. 

“We will need to perform to our maximum to achieve any sort of result, but as we all know on any given day, cup upsets do happen.” 

Matt Howell is unavailable, but everyone else should be there for Chard. 

Bridport boss Fricker said: “It will certainly be a tough test against a side that are in good form and with home advantage. 

“We will be approaching and preparing for the game exactly the same as we would any other.” 

Chard Reserves, who have not played a league game since mid-December, are away to Lapford on Saturday in Division 1 of the Macron Devon & Exeter League (3pm).