Thetford and Walsham go in search of FA Vase glory
Thetford Town and Walsham-le-Willows will both be looking to utilise home advantage as they hit the road to Wembley in the first round proper of The Buildbase FA Vase tomorrow (3pm).
It is a competition both managers hold close to their hearts and are hoping for big crowds to roar them on.
Hertfordshire Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division side Tring Athletic (sixth) stand in Walsham’s way of a place in the second round, with Willows boss Paul Smith having to pick his players up after a 7-2 thrashing in the Suffolk Premier Cup at AFC Sudbury, who play two leagues higher, on Tuesday.
“It is massive,” said Smith. “It is what you look forward to doing when you play football; playing in FA Vase games like that.
“If you get through the first round it starts to get exciting.
“If we can have a good win or good performance Saturday I am sure it will lift everyone at the club.”
Walsham’s 1-0 defeat at title-chasers Stanway Rovers on Saturday leaves them fourth-from-bottom in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
And Smith is expecting similar opponents to turn up tomorrow.
“They are a good outfit and I would put them on the same level as Stanway, so we know we have a hard game on our hands,” he said.
Ryan Clarke (holiday) misses out while striker Andrew Wood (ankle) will undergo a late fitness test, but Matt Morton (hamstring) is back.
Meanwhile, Thetford boss Danny White knows what a good run in the FA Vase can do for players after reaching a Wembley final with Wroxham in 2010, a game they lost 6-1 to Whitley Bay.
His sixth-placed side got some unexpected rest in the week ahead of hosting Premier Division rivals Great Yarmouth Town (eighth) after seeing their game at Gorleston postponed due to a problem with the showers.
“I am expecting a good attacking game from both sides and it will be who wants it more on the day,” said White, who will be without Alex McIntosh and Connor Peacock.
Winning clubs will receive £675 in prize money.