"IT is the biggest game in Pickering's history."

So said Pickering Town manager Paul Marshall as he called for a big crowd on Saturday to cheer the Pikes on in the FA Trophy when they face either Ramsbottom United or Yaxley in the third qualifying round.

The Pikes boss also praised his side's "class up top" following last Saturday's 2-0 victory at Stocksbridge Park Steels which saw Pickering leapfrog their hosts on their way up to 13th in the Evo-Stik League east division and extend their unbeaten run to eight games.

Marshall will be in the crowd for the replay between Step 4 outfits Ramsbottom and Yaxley tonight to tactically prepare for the weekend's game, which offers a place in the first round proper and potentially a draw against a side from any of the three National League divisions.

He said: "It's the biggest game in Pickering's history. We know we're in form and we've had a good run so we have a 50-50 chance of winning the game, just like against Stocksbridge, Droylsden and Mansfield.

"Saturday is no different. It's a flip of a coin.

"You're into the last 64 if we get through, which is a massive achievement. Some teams haven't even won a game after years in the competition and we've won three in our first-ever year.

"We've had to come from behind six times which tells you about the spirit of the team. We're unbeaten in eight games and we've got to keep this run going. Everyone knows football is played between the ears.

"We're looking for a big crowd to be the 12th man. Against Mansfield it was a great crowd and we're hoping to replicate that."

Against Stocksbridge in the league, man-of-the-match Josh Greening netted in each half to take his tally to four goals in three games. He opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark, tapping in after receiving a lovely through ball, and sealed the points with a left-footed finish from the edge of the area.

Of the game, Marshall said: "We're doing well, we're looking exciting going forward and we're defending better. It's all about the defending - we have too much class up top not to score goals.

"We could have been behind early doors, they had a couple of half-chances and we didn't play well the first 20 minutes. We were slow getting into the game.

"But we've been working on staying in games for as long as possible and it was pleasing going 1-0 up after being rubbish for the majority of the first half."

Tonight, Pickering are at Mill Lane in the North Riding County FA Senior Cup first round against holders Middlesbrough Under-23s. In Marshall's absence, assistant manager Denny Ingram and Ryan Blott will take charge.

The Pikes are looking to give their squad players a run out against Boro as they try to keep first-team regulars fresh.

Asked if any impressive performances could earn a step up to the first team, Marshall said: "There's always room for improvement and if someone does better than another player who has been starting, they have every right to knock on my door and say 'I played better than he's been playing'."