Blues must retain focus - Chapman
Jonathan Redhead Lowestoft Town joint boss Micky Chapman is urging his troops to stay focused for the most important 90 minutes of their lives tomorrow. Chapman's Blues take a 4-0 lead up to Whitley Bay for the FA Vase semi-final second leg after a stunning display at Crown Meadow last Saturday.
Lowestoft Town joint boss Micky Chapman is urging his troops to stay focused for the most important 90 minutes of their lives tomorrow.
Chapman's Blues take a 4-0 lead up to Whitley Bay for the FA Vase semi-final second leg after a stunning display at Crown Meadow last Saturday.
A crowd of more than 2,100 saw Richard Woodrow bag a first half brace, while Russell Stock and Jamie Godbold also weighed in with goals as Town completed an emphatic victory over the competition favourites.
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But Chapman is warning his players that the tie is only at the halfway stage and they have plenty to do if they are to realise their dream of running out for a Wembley cup final on May 11.
“It's important we remember we're only half way, although it was great to get the result on Saturday,” he said.
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“We did it in emphatic style. It was awesome and I can't praise the lads enough.
“The attitude, the application, the work rate and the quality was there for everyone to see and we thoroughly deserved the victory in the manner that we got it.
“But we haven't achieved what we want to at the moment, and the next 90 minutes are the most important of our lives if we want to get to Wembley, which is where we all want to be.
“We must make sure we don't get carried away with the four goal lead and make sure we're organised, focused and disciplined. We're taking nothing for granted.”
The only sour note from Saturday's victory was injury to goalkeeper Andy Reynolds who suffered a dislocated hip.
But the stopper has made an amazing recovery and could even be in the squad tomorrow.
His place in the starting line-up will go to Adam Rix and Chapman said the Blues have complete trust in the young keeper.
“He's a quality keeper who's going to start on Saturday and we've got every confidence in him and he'll have a really experienced 10 in front of him,” he said.
Chapman and joint boss Ady Gallagher are likely to field the same outfield ten that started Saturday's victory, although full-back Matty Potter has returned to training after injury and Darren Cockrill returns after suspension.
Meanwhile, Whitley Bay striker Lee Kerr still believes his side can make it to Wembley despite crashing 4-0 to Town in the first leg.
The 21-year-old striker, who has already bagged 30 goals this season, was forced to drop into midfield in Saturday's game after his side had Brian Rowe sent off after only 13 minutes.
But the man who has had trials with Newcastle United and Bristol City, and was rumoured to be a Norwich City target last season still thinks his side can overturn the four-goal deficit.
The Bay are currently second in Arngrove Northern League and have scored more than four goals in a match fifteen times this season, while Kerr needs just two to make it 100 for the Bay.
He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “I scored four goals in one match in the FA Vase against Flixton, when we won 6-0 at Hillheads, so that gives me a lot of hope.
“There is no way any of us will give up on going to Wembley without a major fight.
“If we can get the early goal we know that they are certainly a team we can beat at our home ground.
“The fans have a massive part to play and if they are right behind us, like they always are, we can make it to the final.”
The seaside club have an average attendance of around 220 but as many as 2,000 fans are expected to turn up at the Hillheads ground to try to cheer the Bay on to an incredible victory, with 200 Lowestoft supporters expected to make the long trip north.
Whitley have been afforded special help from Premier League Newcastle United, as Lowestoft were by Norwich City, by having special training sessions last night in Newcastle's indoor training facility.