MALVERN Town boss Lee Hooper says his team will embrace the underdog label as they prepare to face higher-league opposition Sporting Khalsa in the Buildbase FA Vase third-round.

Khalsa, who sit top of the Midland Football League Premier Division, play in step five of the non-league football ladder, a level above Town, but co-manager Hooper believes his side has what it takes to cause an upset, especially with a big crowd behind them.

“It’s a challenge that we face with relish,” he said.

“It’ll be a tough one, there is no doubt about that; Sporting Khalsa are a good side and top of the table so it’s nice for us to go into a game as underdogs for a change with the pressure off.

“I have no doubt that our players are capable of stepping up and causing them problems.

“They will be backed by another big crowd and hopefully we can do the same as we did on Tuesday and send them home happy.

“It’s going to be a great occasion and I can’t wait for it to come around.”

Malvern head into the clash on the back of a derby win with Worcester Raiders on Tuesday night in the Worcestershire Senior Invitation Cup.

Matt Turner scored a hat-trick for the Hillsiders in the 4-2 win and Hooper says it was the best possible warm-up for Saturday’s Vase game.

“It was a great start to the week,” he said.

“We had to battle out there, but the lads held their nerve to secure a good win.

“It was the ideal chance for us to get minutes into some of the lads that needed it and rest a few ahead of the weekend.

“There is room for improvement in certain aspects of our game, of course, but confidence is high and now we look forward to Saturday’s game.”

Kick-off on Saturday is at 3pm at the HDanywhere Community Stadium.