PICKERING Town manager Paul Marshall has promised to keep his squad fresh as they look to continue their first-ever foray into the FA Trophy.

On Tuesday night, Pickering beat AFC Mansfield 2-0 to progress to the third qualifying round where they will face either Yaxley or Ramsbottom United on Saturday, November 24.

Before that, though, Pickering have an important Evo-Stik League east division clash with Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday and, on Tuesday, play a North Riding FA County Senior Cup round one game at Mill Lane against Middlesbrough Under-23s.

But, with the Senior Cup not top of the Pikes’ priorities, Marshall is shaping up to give his first-choice players a week’s rest before another key cup clash.

He said: “Middlesbrough won’t be our strongest team because we’ve got to save them for Yaxley or Ramsbottom. We’ll have all the young lads and the lads on the bench playing.

“(The cup run) is proving to be a springboard (for the league) because we’re seven games unbeaten now. Most of those are in the cup but it breeds confidence, not getting beaten, and the lads are believing in what we’re doing.

“When we beat Stocksbridge in the cup, I though they were one of the best teams we’ve played.

“It will be a tough game on Saturday but we’ll go into it full of confidence.”

The midweek victory over Mansfield came thanks to a Josh Greening goal in the seventh minute – the 500th goal the current squad have scored between them – and the killer Billy Logan finish seven minutes from time.

Marshall has offered his sympathies to the Bulls - who were delayed coming up from Nottinghamshire – but it has not sullied a deserved Pikes win.

He said: “It’s a shame they got stuck in traffic because they only had 20 minutes’ warm-up, but I said to our lads to start brightly and go at them, and we got the early goal.

“Mansfield got into it in the second half and put pressure on us but we hit them on the break and got our second.

“It’s the nature of the beast of semi-professional football – you’ve got to wait for lads to finish work, some are getting there by themselves, and sometimes you get stuck in traffic.

“We’ve all been there. Sometimes it makes you play better and sometimes it hinders you.

“They had a couple of injuries they put down to a lack of preparation, which is disappointing for them, but I think we were the better team.

“I was impressed with our defensive work. We’re always going to score goals because of the quality we have up front, it’s whether we can stop them.

“They put their bodies on the line when they needed to and they did the blocking, heading and tackling well. They did the ‘ugly’ side of the game well, and credit to them.”

Fellow east division outfit Tadcaster Albion host Stamford on Saturday while premier division leaders Scarborough Athletic welcome Marine.

Selby Town are looking for their fifth consecutive Northern Counties East League division one win when Glasshoughton Welfare visit while premier division high-fliers Knaresborough Town host leaders Yorkshire Amateur and bottom side Harrogate Railway Athletic play Garforth Town at their Station View home.

Harrogate Town do not have a fixture this weekend.