TAUNTON Town face two cup matches in the next week, having had a “welcome rest” last week.

The Peacocks have not played since October 29, with last Saturday’s scheduled game at home to Hendon being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Taunton head of football Rob Dray believes the break has come “at the right time” for his side.

He told the County Gazette: “It’s a welcome rest, as – including pre-season – we’ve played 29 games already.

“Several players really needed recharging; it’s not just the games, it’s the travel, so the week off has been brilliant for everyone.”

Tomorrow – weather permitting – Aveley travel down from Essex for an FA Trophy second round qualifying tie at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium (ko 3pm).

The visitors play in the Isthmian League North Division (one tier below Taunton in the Non-League system), and Dray has done his homework on them.

He said: “Harvey Freemantle, a Taunton fan who lives in London, watched one of their games and sent us a significant report, and I’ve spoken to managers around the London area – we know as much as we possibly can about them.

“It’s a cup game, we know about taking on teams from a higher league, but we’re playing well at home at the moment.”

The winning side will collect £3,000 in prize money, and the next round will see National League North/South teams enter the competition.

Dray said: “A couple of sides see the national cup competitions as a second thought, but they’re massive for us.

“There’s the prize money, and the chance to play different teams and test ourselves.”

Dray expects to have a full squad for the match, and the Somerset Premier Cup second round tie at home to Bath City – currently sixth in National League South – on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Bridgwater & Taunton College students Nathan Byrne and Callum Watts, who were selected in the England Under-18 Schoolboys South West squad this week, are set to be involved.

“We have a great link with BTC, with Noah [Coppin] and Luke [Manley] already coming through,” Dray said.

“Some of the lads will play and we’ll have a good look at them.”

Dray is looking to add to his squad, following the departure of Pierce Mitchell and Ed Palmer, and is talking to “one or two” players, adding: “We have to make sure they’re the right ones for the club.”

The opposition

Essex-based Aveley were formed in 1927, and made their way to the Isthmian League in 1973/74 via the Thurrock Combination, London and Athenian Leagues (and the FA Cup first round proper in 1970/71).

The Millers won promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division for the 2009/10 season, but after manager Rod Stringer departed for Braintree Town (and took his playing squad with him) they dropped back down in 2011/12.

They sit fifth in the North Division standings, off the back of a 5-0 thumping of Heybridge Swifts last Saturday.

Aveley have been in the goals in the FA Trophy, too, beating East Grinstead Town 5-0 and Bowers & Pitsea 3-0.

The only blip in the last month was a 2-1 league defeat at home to Coggeshall Town – a game which saw the Millers outdo Manchester United at Norwich City, by missing three penalties.

In fairness, a current position of fifth is not a bad achievement given that manager Danny Dafter and his assistant Gary Haywood shocked the club by resigning just two games into the season.

He has been succeeded by Keith Rowland, the ex-Bournemouth, Coventry, West Ham and QPR defender, who also won 19 caps for Northern Ireland between 1993 and 1999.

Rowland made a couple of changes for Tuesday night’s Essex Senior Cup tie against Basildon United, with the Taunton match on the horizon.

Aveley missed another penalty, and lost 2-1.