Benjamin is up for Vase challenge

Paddy DavittWroxham's nomadic striker Trevor Benjamin wants to kick start his career by helping the Yachtsmen seal a dream Wembley date in the FA Vase. Benjamin has linked up with former mentor and Trafford Park boss David Batch ahead of the club's two legged semi-inal against Sussex-based Whitehawk.Paddy Davitt

Wroxham's nomadic striker Trevor Benjamin wants to kick start his career by helping the Yachtsmen seal a dream Wembley date in the FA Vase.

Benjamin has linked up with former mentor and Trafford Park boss David Batch ahead of the club's two legged semi-inal against Sussex-based Whitehawk.

The 31-year-old had made two Wroxham appearances prior to last night's Ridgeons Premier Division trip to Wisbech - when he was on the bench - after a 13-year spell in the professional ranks. Benjamin jumped at the chance of a reunion with his ex-Cambridge United youth team manager following an illness-hit campaign prior to his recent Trafford Park switch.

"He was my boss when I was at Cambridge United and I was there with the likes of Martin McNeil and Shaun Howes - so it was an easy decision for me to come here," he said. "I've had a bit of an illness for most of this season which restricted me from playing but I want to get back involved and this is a great opportunity to come and play games and get my match fitness back.


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"There was no problem from my point of view dropping down to this level. You'd actually be surprised but there are a lot of good players who, for whatever reason, maybe didn't get the chance to go higher or people don't come to watch them. They have ability and they could play in the Football League. That's football - some lads get the breaks and some lads don't."

Benjamin moved to Leicester for �1.3m in 2000 after forging his reputation as a powerful striker during a five-year spell at Cambridge United. The Kettering-born forward went on to have brief spells at the likes of Norwich, Coventry and West Brom - experience that could play a crucial part in Wroxham's FA Vase bid ahead of Sunday's away tie.

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"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I've not played in the FA Vase before so it will be a new experience for me and hopefully we can do a job down there. It's massive for Wroxham, as a place, because it's the first time I understand that they have got that far in the competition. It's great for the exposure of the club to get this far and if they could go all the way it would really put them on the map.

"I know the manager is very thorough and he will have us prepared physically and mentally. He will have watched the other side and know how best to set up against them. With the team we've got I see no reason we can't go and win the first game. We have some quality in our side and we can't go there with the mindset that you just want to keep it tight for the second leg."

Benjamin is ready to do whatever he can to prolong Wroxham's FA Vase fairytale.

"We haven't really spoken about the future," he said. "The manager just said come down and play a few games and see what happens. It's a chance to get fit and I'm grateful for that. He was my first manager and he did a lot for me and I'll never forget that and I hope he can help me get back on an upward path.

"You never say never about playing higher again but right now I just want to play games, get myself fit and see where it takes me - but to get to Wembley would be a great occasion."

Second leg tickets for the FA Vase semi final return at Trafford Park on Saturday, April 3 can be purchased in advance from the club on 01603 400300. Admission prices: �8 adults, �5 concessions, �3 for children aged 12 and over with free entry for children under 12.

Tickets are also available from Dolphin Autos, Swanton Road, in Norwich, Hazell Butchers, Corbet Avenue, Sprowston, Roys of Wroxham and the Norfolk FA football development centre in Bowthorpe (01603 748944). The second leg tie is not all ticket and supporters can pay on the gate at Trafford Park.

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