Truro City manager Lee Hodges to welcome 'special' visitors
Lee Hodges admits he will have to put emotions to one side during Truro City's Blue Square Bet South home match against Glenn Pennyfather's 'special' Chelsmford City today (3pm).
Last September, Truro lost 3-2 at Chelmsford to a last-minute winner from substitute striker Craig Calver, after Les Afful and Stewart Yetton had given the down-to-bare-bones Cornish team a shock 2-0 half-time lead.
But it was what happened after the match that has left an indelible mark on Hodges, his squad and their fans. Clarets supporters raised money for the financially troubled visitors as well as giving Hodges' side a standing ovation when they left the field of play.
Hodges said: "Something like that stays with you for the rest of your days.
"It shows the best side of football and that sometimes the game can be way, way bigger than the result on the pitch, because really it is all about the fans and how they choose to behave.
"We were in trouble – financially – the players hadn't been paid and everyone knew about it and their fans raised something like £700 for us. They didn't have to do that. It was a spur-of-the-moment gesture and one I will never forget.
"I remember getting cheered off by their fans and Glenn [Pennyfather] going over to our fans and clapping them and talking to them.
"I think the respect we have for them and their fans typifies what seems to happen in non-League football more frequently than people realise.
"Football has its bad days but that certainly wasn't one of them and it's stayed with us.
"I am not saying we won't give it our all for 90 minutes when we play them. Of course we will, and I will have to put what they did for us to one side for those 90 minutes.
"I think a coach-load of their fans are coming down and I know they have got a great rapport with our supporters because I have seen the message boards and obviously I speak to Glenn now and again and although I can't remember ever playing against him, I have huge respect for him."
Hodges is hoping for third time lucky as City's last two matches have been postponed, meaning his one-match suspension is still in place.
The Truro boss said: "I have a bad back anyway so I doubt I would have made it but we do get Marcus [Martin] back from suspension."
As for the match, Hodges added: "Chelmsford are a strong, powerful side and always there or thereabouts at the top, chasing promotion. We will have our work cut out."