MALVERN Town co-manager Lee Hooper believes “enjoying” the game will be the key to Town playing their best football and ultimately getting through to the fifth-round of the Buildbase FA Vase when they face Congleton on Saturday.

The Hillsiders have had a tough Vase run so far with two of the three games coming against higher level opposition, but they have progressed with flying colours.

Town have not played a competitive fixture since that dramatic penalty shootout win over Sporting Khalsa in the third round back in December but Hooper is confident the boys are fit and ready to go.

“Fitness levels have been great,” he said.

“The lads have been brilliant through lockdown, we set tasks that we could follow on their Strava accounts and when they came back I was shocked at their match fitness.

“I think that’s why the fitness levels are so good, because we are still in the vase there has been that light at the end of the tunnel to come back to. It’s always been something to look forward to and everyone involved at the club has been aiming for this.”

Malvern have had a terrific couple of years, without having the deserved promotions due to seasons being curtailed because of Covid. Hooper says that has all been to down to creating an “enjoyable” atmosphere.

“We have always tried to emphasise to the players; you have to enjoy yourself,” he said.

“If you’re enjoying playing football then that’s half the mental battle won. If you go onto the pitch knowing you’re going to enjoy it and you have that attitude, you’re more likely to play your best stuff.

“Over the last few seasons we have won the majority of our games and with that comes enjoyment and that’s how we focus our attentions each week."