WISBECH Town boss Steve Appleby was this week fighting to keep hold of his captain after Spalding United launched a bid to sign Paul Cousins.

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The Fenmen have spent the week preparing for the biggest game of their season so far - tomorrow’s dream FA Cup clash with former Conference side Kettering Town.

But their build-up was unsettled on Tuesday as the Tulips put in a seven-day approach for centre-back Cousins.

Appleby said: “You like to think that your best players will attract some attention but this is a blow.

“I would imagine they are planning to throw money at him but the way I see it is that our club is more stable and we have more chance of winning things.

“Paul loves his hometown club and hopefully we can keep him.”

Appleby has already held discussions with Cousins in an attempt to convince him to stay. If the defender does go, it will be the second time he has walked out on his hometown club in the last two seasons.

Cousins defected to fierce rivals King’s Lynn Town in May last year - days after he had lifted Wisbech’s first trophy in 16 years. He returned to the Fenmen in January and was restored as captain by Appleby for this season’s Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title challenge.

Cousins was forced to come off injured as a goal from loanee striker Ash Stevens failed to prevent a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Brantham Athletic on Saturday.

But the skipper will be fit for tomorrow’s FA Cup First Qualifying Round - and Appleby hopes injured pair Dubi Ogbonna and Chris Bacon will also play.

Bacon is recovering quicker than expected from his torn shoulder ligaments, while Ogbonna’s chances of shrugging off his ankle injury are rated as 50-50.

Appleby said: “Chris’ shoulder does hurt a bit but he’s a big strong lad and, as long as he can move it, he’s willing to play.

“It would be massive to have him back. We do miss his presence when he’s not there.”

Appleby, who spent a season with Kettering as a player, said tomorrow would be a fantastic day for the club.

“Kettering are still a big club and they play two leagues higher than us,” he said. “We’re massive underdogs but I know that if we play our football we’ll have a chance.

“If we won it would be a big scalp but it would also give the lads massive confidence.”

• Kick-off is at 3pm tomorrow. Tickets cost £7 for adults and £5 for concessions.

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