PETER Nicholas hopes Hornchurch have their minds elsewhere when Newport County clash toe-to-toe with the moneybags Ryman League high-fliers in the pick of Saturday's FA Trophy games, writes Peter Shuttleworth.

For while Exiles boss Nicholas is focused on the lucrative Round Two Trophy tie at Bridge Avenue, Hornchurch's glamourous and money-spinning FA Cup Second Round game with Second Division Tranmere Rovers on Saturday week has captured the imagination of suburban Essex.

The visit of Brian Little's full-timers will overtake Hornchurch's First Round scalp of Third Division Darlington as the biggest game in their 80-year history.

Nicholas, however, isn't worried about the euphoria surrounding Hornchurch's big FA Cup date - but he does hope George Borg's men are not concentrated on their immediate Trophy task so his County can take full advantage.

"I hope it's a case of before the Lord Mayor's show for Hornchurch," said Nicholas. "I hope they are not focused so we can capitalise and progress in this competition, because that is one our big aims this season."

The FA Trophy has had a new injection of cash this season and due to increased prize funds, victory on Saturday would swell County's coffers by a further £3,000.

Nicholas' revived Newport and Borg's big-spending Hornchurch are the two form sides of their respective leagues.

County last loss was nine games ago, a 4-1 Dr Martens League Premier Division reverse against Weston-super-Mare at Spytty Park on October 22.

And apart from an Essex Senior Cup setback to Dagenham and Redbridge last week, Ryman League Premier Division Hornchurch haven't tasted defeat since September 23 when they went down 1-0 to St Albans in the league - 14 games ago - ensuring they are knocking on the Conference door.

It's a far cry from their days playing in front of 40 people in Ryman Division Three just three years ago. But a revolution on the east end of the London Underground's district line, led by a publicity-shy double-glazing tycoon, means the little Urchins are vying for their fourth successive promotion.

The Newport manager, meanwhile, welcomes back captain and left-back Gary Lloyd from a three-match suspension and Nicholas also revealed good news about Shephard's recovery from a knee operation and said: "Garry has recovered well from the operation and has returned to light training.

"He is not ready for Saturday's trip to Hornchurch but we are hopeful that he'll be available for selection for the home league game with Hinckley on Saturday week. Apart from Garry I have a full squad available."