The road to Wembley begins this Saturday for Bay Plastics Northern Alliance Premier Division outfit, Alnwick Town as they host NW Counties side, Charnock Richard, in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Vase.
Town, under the watchful guidance of former player Paul Yeadon, have enjoyed a return to life in the Alliance following last seasons’ relegation from the Northern League Second Division and, although appearances in cup competitions can often be seen as a distraction from the league campaign, Yeadon is using it as a chance to implement the early stages of a rebuilding programme they’ve implemented over the summer.
“This is certainly one of the biggest games we’ll have and is a great opportunity to play in a national competition,” began Paul.
“I’ve played in the Vase before and, to be honest, you don’t realise how big it is until afterwards so I’m trying to give local lads a chance but I’d like to have a good run in the Vase and anything can happen on the day.”
Last seasons’ relegation was a bitter pill to swallow for the Northumberland side but, following the return of Yeadon, along with this season’s top scorer, Brad McClelland, they currently hold a top six berth in the early proceedings.
Seven goals (before Wednesday’s game against Whitley Bay A) has McClelland leading the scoring charts and he, along with young star Paul Muers are who Yeadon will be looking to in order to fire Town into the next round.
“We’ll be missing captain Jake Lowes, and 17-year-old Joseph Pickard, due to holiday commitments, as well as doubts over striker Scott Maddison but this is great chance for people like Muers to shine,” admits Yeadon.
“What the locals do need to understand is that this is the beginning of a long journey and things aren’t going to happen overnight.
“This is just the start of a 3-4 season plan and whatever happens, happens, and after is a bonus.”
Alnwick Town host Charnock Richard on Saturday in the FA Vase 1QR, KO at their St James’ Park home is 3pm with entry priced at £5 adults and £3 children/concessions.