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Heed won't take Steels lightly - Mafuta

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Midfielder Gus Mafuta insists that Gateshead can ill-afford to take Stocksbridge Park Steels lightly ahead of Saturday’s FA Trophy clash at the International Stadium.

The Heed have already exited one cup competition to lower-league opposition this season, dumped out of the FA Cup at home to National League North outfit Worcester City back in October.

The eighth-tier Steels have already caused a couple of stirs in the Trophy, eliminating higher-ranked duo Ilkeston and North Ferriby United in successive rounds.

The Villagers were, of course, victorious in the competition last time out, but were stunned by Chris Hilton’s side at Grange Lane a fortnight ago.

On the back of last night’s Vanarama National League defeat to Southport on Tyneside, Mafuta believes that Gateshead have a lot riding on Saturday’s outcome as the busy festive period approaches.

He said: “It’s an important game for us now. We want to do well in every competition, and every player will tell you the same.

“We want to get as far as we can, and we realise this is a chance to get to Wembley.

“We won’t take Stocksbridge lightly – we’ll approach it like we approach every game.

“We’ll certainly not underestimate them, and hopefully we can come away with the win.”

20-year-old Mafuta has now started in seven of the Heed’s last eight games, having been restricted to cameo appearances prior.

The midfielder notched his first goal for the club away at Boreham Wood six weeks ago, having joined on a short-term deal in September.

His contract comes to an end on January 2, but Mafuta is hopeful he will be invited to remain at the International Stadium for longer.

The former Colchester United trainee is taking nothing for granted, however, and admits he has to keep knuckling down in the weeks ahead.

He said: “I hope to stay, but I’m not going to get complacent. I have to keep working hard until a decision is made.

“I was in and out of the team at the beginning, but I always felt that I needed a run of games to show what I’m about, and I think I’m getting that now.

“I’m only going to get better as the games go on, so hopefully I can keep putting in the performances to stay in the team.

“If I can keep putting the work in on the pitch and in training, then hopefully the decision will be a positive one.”

Source: www.gateshead-fc.com

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