Mark Armstrong and Gavin Caney
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Wisbech Town boss Steve Appleby admits he has got “a big selection headache” ahead of this evening’s FA Vase second round proper replay against St Ives Town.
Key defenders Paul Cousins and Jon Fairweather are both available again after missing the 2-2 draw at Westwood Road and the Fenmen chief said he has got a dilemma to contend with.
“With Cousins and Fairweather back we’ve got even more in our locker – I’ve got a big selection headache.” said Appleby, who today celebrates a 1,000 days in charge of the Fenmen.
“I jokingly said that I’ve somehow got to pick a team out of that and justify it. I’ll just pick the side that I think can win us the game.”
Appleby is convinced his side can finish the job off this evening against the Saints, who took the lead on Saturday through Karl Gibbs before Wisbech roared back in the second half with goals from Chris Bacon and Matt Lunn.
Will Fordham struck to give his side a replay but Appleby was pleased given their suspension problems that they have another chance to do it all again.
“We weren’t clinical but with the side we had, with the suspension problems, I’m more than happy. I feel as though there’s plenty to take from it into Tuesday.
“I think the boys that did play did superbly. The back four were superb. Spaff (Spafford) and Stacy (Cartwright) were superb, young Lewis (Sturman) did well and Scott Johnson showed what a good player he has been for years. All over the park we competed and gave it our all.”
The winner of this evening’s replay will visit Merseyside club Bootle or Bradford-based Thackley in the next round.
Wisbech’s big night arrives as their boss – and ex-player – Appleby becomes the Fenmen’s first manager this century to rack up a four-figure milestone.
The Boston-based boss stepped into the hot seat on February 10, 2010 after Dick Creasey had temporarily replaced King’s Lynn Town-bound manager Gary Setchell.
Appleby led the club to their first trophy in 16 years by winning the Ridgeons League (Eastern Counties) Challenge Cup in May 2011.
The powerful midfielder, who played for Boston United and a host of clubs during a distinguished non-league career, should soon overtake Joe Robinson (1,012 days), Dave Eldred (1,044), Joe Cockroft (1,065) and Oscar Hold (1,089) as one of the longest Wisbech managers of all time.
However, he still has some way to go to get anywhere near the legendary tenures of Roy McManus (1,646) and Jesse Pye (2,448) - a former England international who bossed Wisbech in the 60s.
Appleby’s spell at the helm is in stark contrast to Mark O’Kane who lasted less than a day in charge.
He was appointed manager on September 18, 2001, but resigned just 18 hours later.