Underdogs Lowestoft looking for another big bite in FA Vase
Jonathan Redhead Lowestoft Town go into the biggest game in their history today, looking to shock the big boys once again. So far the Blues have been ranked as underdogs in every round of this season's FA Vase.
Lowestoft Town go into the biggest game in their history today, looking to shock the big boys once again.
So far the Blues have been ranked as underdogs in every round of this season's FA Vase.
And having drawn competition favourites Whitley Bay in the semi-finals, Town are ready to get their teeth into another tough test to keep their dream of a Wembley final alive.
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A bumper crowd of up to 2,000 is expected at Crown Meadow this afternoon for the semi-final first leg and Blues joint manager Micky Chapman says his team are ready for the Northern League side.
“We are really up for it - we know how big a game it is. It's great we are involved in this type of game and such a high-profile challenge,” he said.
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“But at the minute the reality is we're not thinking about the final - we've a massive, massive hurdle to conquer (in Whitley Bay) before we can even get there. They are the favourites and rightly so.
“They've knocked out last season's winners Truro away from home in a previous round, have won the competition before and are a strong, well-organised side.
“We are the underdogs, but we've been in that role for most of this competition - and it's one we enjoy.
“We'll have to be at our best to progress - but we want it bad.
“We'll need to make sure our attitude and quality is right on the day, apply ourselves and get the workrate done in the right way, and if we add this to that key ingredient, which you always need in cup competitions - a little bit of lady luck - then we can cause them problems.”
Joint boss Ady Gallagher agrees with Chapman about his side's status as outsiders, but says Town are ready for anything.
“Hopefully things will go well for us and we've got a lot to look forward to, but we'll just take it as it comes,” Gallagher said.
“It's just a half of the total match. It's different in that respect and you can be a little more patient and realise that it's not going to be won or lost in the first game.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, we are massive underdogs, as we have been in most of the last few rounds. Whitley Bay are huge favourites to come and knock us out of this tournament but we've got this far and were not planning on chucking in the towel just yet.”
Meanwhile, Blues centre-back Neil Plaskett admitted everyone at the club is getting excited about the possibility of a date at Wembley for the final.
“Obviously, none of us have ever been this far before,” he said.
“With the opportunity to play at Wembley, it's trying not to get too excited about it because it's still not there yet, but obviously it's difficult to get it out of our minds.
“We just want to make sure we play well and get the result we're after.
“I think we like being underdogs. We've been the underdogs in every round so far.
“Every round they've said these are the second favourites or third favourites and we've just gone out and played. So it doesn't really affect us.
“We've got to play somebody at the semi-final stage. Whitley Bay don't know us, we don't know them, so we just have to wait and see.
“It's two legs so we've always got a chance.”
The Blues will be without brothers Dale and Darren Cockrill for the first leg due to suspension, while Matty Potter is a doubt and key midfielder Richard Woodrow is only rated at 50/50 after injuring his ankle in last week's derby with Kirkley & Pakefield.
The FA Vase will be on show before today's encounter in Lowestoft, while an FA delegation will be on hand to present Town with an award as team of the round for their quarter-final victory at Concord Rangers.
Tickets for today's game are £6 for adults and £3 for children and senior citizens.