Lee winning fitness fight

Town boss Neil Aspin rates Lee Gregory’s chances of facing League One leaders Charlton in the first round of the FA Cup at the Shay on Sunday as 60-40.

The club’s 10-goal leading scorer has been receiving intensive treatment for a hamstring problem since limping from the field early in the fourth qualifying round win at Solihull.

But Gregory appears to be winning his battle to play in front of the TV cameras in the biggest game in the Shaymen’s recent history.

“Lee will continue to have treatment,” said Aspin. “At the moment there is a 60-40 chance he will play.

“It would be a blow if he didn’t play at the weekend because he has been in a good vein of scoring form.

“We know we are not going to get many chances against Charlton and when we do get them we are going to have to make the most of them.”

Gregory had scored five goals in four matches before picking up the injury that forced him to miss the 3-1 win at Gloucester City last weekend.

And his presence could be key for the Shaymen.

Aspin reports no other worries with Scott McManus expected to recover from a tight groin by the weekend.

“He was sore after the Gloucester game but I expect another couple of days and he will be okay,” said the Shay chief.

Aspin’s main job is keeping the routine ahead of the cup tie as normal as possible for his players.

But he knows that the increased attention on his team is bound to have an effect in the build up to Sunday’s game.

“I know myself from my playing career that big game preparation is different,” he said.

“It is continually on your mind and that can take its toll.

“But once the game kicks off it is like any other you play in and you forget all about the hype in the build up.

Sunday’s game could bring back painful memories for Aspin who was part of the Leeds United side that lost to the Addicks in the second division play off final in 1987.

“It was a long time ago - 24 years ago,” he said. “A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

“The first leg was at Charlton and they won 1-0 with the second leg at Elland Road.

“We won that 1-0 so there was a third game at a neutral ground and there was not even a full house which was a bit of an anti climax.”

Charlton won the third game 2-1 with two goals from Peter Shirtliff - the second in the 117th minute - after John Sheridan had given Leeds the lead.

It was the first ever play off for promotion and relegation to and from the top flight and Charlton maintained their top flight status but there were just 18,000 at St Andrews for the third game.