VIDEO: Lowestoft FA Vase semi-final preview
A professional approach and the support of more than 300 fervent Trawler Boys is the recipe for success in the pursuit of a Wembley dream. Lowestoft Town FC head up north today ahead of their eagerly-awaited FA Vase semi-final first leg tie against Whitley Bay.
A PROFESSIONAL approach and the support of more than 300 fervent Trawler Boys is the recipe for success in the pursuit of a Wembley dream.
Lowestoft Town FC head up north today ahead of their eagerly-awaited FA Vase semi-final first leg tie against Whitley Bay.
With the prize of a return trip to the home of English football at stake at the end of 180 minutes of action, The Blues are set to be backed by coach loads of supporters at Hillheads tomorrow.
And they will warm-up for the encounter in the best possible fashion, as they fly to Newcastle this morning before treading on the top-class turf at Newcastle United's Darsley Park training complex and then staying at a hotel before Saturday's semi-final.
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The Blues will also head into the first leg tie buoyed by a fantastic run.
Unbeaten since January 3, Lowestoft have gone 15 games without defeat - picking up a sensational 14 league and cup wins in that time, with just one league draw.
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“The players and management coach leaves Crown Meadow at 4.45am on Friday, making the journey to Stansted and then a short flight to Newcastle,” chairman Gary Keyzor revealed.
“With a training session in the afternoon and a high standard accommodation with specially prepared meals I don't believe that we could prepare any more professionally than we have done.”
Admitting that the players were looking forward to the game, joint Blues boss Micky Chapman warned they will not be going to make up the numbers.
“We will be taking a squad of 18 - and we not going there for a jolly!” he said.
“With the help of Craig Fleming and Dave Carolan we will have professional preparation and that is great for the lads and really important.”
Almost 1,000 Whitley Bay fans have already brought their tickets for tomorrow's tie, and it promises to be an intimidating atmosphere at Hillheads as The Blues collide with Ian Chandler's men once more.
With the home side intent on revenge following last season's epic 4-3 win at this same semi-final stage, Lowestoft will be wary of the Seahorses threat.
“It will be a really tough game at Hillheads,” Chapman said. “They are a good side and we know what it's like up there - we've had them watched, as I'm sure they have done for us.
“League form goes out of the window and it will be a different game completely to last year,” he added.
“But if we make sure we are right we can cause them problems - likewise we have to be aware of the problems they can cause us.”
The match is not all ticket and tickets will also be available on the day at the Hillheads ground.
Sending out a rallying call to the Trawler Boys, Chapman called on the “best fans at this level in the country” to be loud and “make lots of noise” tomorrow to help set Lowestoft up for the second leg next Saturday.
“Ticket sales for the home leg have already exceeded 1,200 with the remainder all on sale in the clubhouse during normal opening hours,” Keyzor said.
This semi-final second leg tie at Crown Meadow is an all-ticket match, with fans urged to buy their tickets in advance of the crucial game on April 4.
With a fully-fit squad expected to travel to the north today, 28-year-old defender Matty Potter is back in contention for a starting berth having recently been injured.
Knowing that his side are within touching distance of Wembley for the second successive season, Potter is urging on the side of caution.
“Whenever I speak to anyone I don't even mention 'the word' (Wembley),” he said. “I'm very superstitious. Sometimes it feels like I'm touching wood more times than a carpenter!”
But looking ahead to tomorrow's tie, and the second leg at Crown Meadow, Potter admitted: “It's going to be a tight game. We appreciate and respect them for the side they are.
“Although we are much the same side as last year I think we are much better equipped this time around. We have learnt for our experiences last year, not only as players but also as a club.”
For the latest result, news and pictures from the semi-final first leg, visit www.lowestoftjournal24.co.uk
Anyone who is not travelling to Whitley Bay can listen to full commentary on the radio/internet with a full commentary on BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Suffolk.