Norfolk pride on the line in FA Cup tie
Paddy Davitt Ahead of Wroxham and King's Lynn's all-Norfolk FA Cup third qualifying round tie at Trafford Park on Saturday, Paddy Davitt gets the inside track from both men at the helm.
Ahead of Wroxham and King's Lynn's all-Norfolk FA Cup third qualifying round tie at Trafford Park on Saturday, Paddy Davitt gets the inside track from both men at the helm.
Wroxham chairman Tom Jarrett detects the hand of fate at work ahead of this weekend's intriguing Trafford Park cup showdown.
“When we played the last round at Norwich United's ground the players and officials were discussing who we might get if we could get through,” he said. “Someone said wouldn't it be an adventure to draw King's Lynn and that is what happened.
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“These are special days - days you will remember for many years to come. King's Lynn probably has everything to fear in this type of situation but the majority of our players have experienced these sort of occasions and I'm confident they will perform.
“There is a quiet determination within the club. We're so excited. It's the old big team versus little team but in cup football anything can happen. As much as it's a bold statement we feel there is a potential for an upset.”
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Jarrett admits Lynn's recent move through the football pyramid should be an inspiration to the rest of Norfolk's non league community.
“Full credit to King's Lynn because there was a time when we were fairly similar in terms of perhaps the level of football,” he said. “You have to respect the hard work and dedication that has gone on to get as far as they have. They deserve every success that they have achieved in reaching their current level. I would like to think we are the third biggest club in the county but they are coming to Trafford Park and that is a different ball game. It will come down to who performs on the day.
“We have a few players with King's Lynn connections who I am sure will be looking forward to it. Our keeper Duncan McAnally is top quality. No disrespect to any of the other lads who have come in this season but he makes such a difference.”
Jarrett and his off field team have worked overtime to ensure the predicted 1,100 capacity sell out cup tie is a huge success.
“A lot of preparation and hard work has gone in by so many people and that deserves to be recognised,” he said. “We have had many meetings, listened to the police advice and acted on that. To a man the officers or the people who run our club wanted to keep this tie at Trafford Park - with the backing of the local authority.
“We hope that this is a fantastic occasion. I'm not looking any further than Saturday at the moment but I hope to be smiling come 5pm.”
King's Lynn chief Ken Bobbins is under no illusions the Blue Square North favourites face a warm reception.
“Wroxham will give it a real go - we know that,” he said. “We also realise its one of those ties that can go badly wrong for us. We can't really win in the sense that we are expected to progress but the cup is a great leveller - we have proved that in recent seasons.
“I don't think there is any apprehension although we know how difficult it will be. It is about who responds best to the pressure on the day. For us I feel that means getting the players' heads right and Keith (Webb) will have them in the right frame of mind.”
Bobbins admitted to mixed feelings with Norfolk pride on the line.
“My first reaction when the draw was made was disappointment that we weren't at home,” he said. “I think an all-Norfolk tie of this nature would have attracted a bumper crowd at The Walks. What an occasion that would've been but good luck to Wroxham they were lucky enough to get the home tie. My wish is everything goes smoothly and we get a great game of football.
“There is so many extra issues around this game - not least the fact it's an all-Norfolk tie which adds so much flavour. Aside from that a good number of the Wroxham side have played for Lynn at one time another and they will want to prove a point.
“Of course we are two or three levels higher and would be confident of going through but that doesn't mean we will be complacent or take Wroxham lightly. This is a chance to show the whole county we are rightly classed as the second biggest team.”
Bobbins knows the victors also move a step closer to emulating Lynn's heroic televised 2006 cup run through to the second round proper.
“It is so important to both clubs because you are potentially 90 minutes from the first round,” he said. “Then you are talking about leagues clubs - the likes of Leeds and Leicester - so of course there is more to it than merely progressing on the field. If you are lucky enough to draw one of those clubs then you could be talking about the sort of financial boost that can set you up for an entire season. As we proved very recently.”
The Linnets' chief revealed he will be a notable absentee when the teams emerge at Trafford Park.
“I will be watching my son run the Chicago Marathon for charity,” he said. “But rest assured I will have two or three people providing me with the regular updates so I will be there in spirit.”
Read Mark Hearle's latest exclusive Linnets' club column today only on edp24.co.uk/kingslynn