Norwich United full of confidence ahead of FA Vase clash in Kent
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Norwich United's unrelenting search for silverware takes them to Kent today, as they continue along the road to Wembley in the FA Vase.
The Planters have been in unstoppable form in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division this season and remain on course for a remarkable quadruple.
They are nine points clear at the top of the league, in the semi-finals of the Norfolk Senior Cup and in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
Today Damian Hilton's side take on Ashford United in the fourth round of the FA Vase, looking to reach the fifth round of the national competition for the first time in the club's history.
'The lads' form has been fantastic, we've won 18 out of our last 19 and our confidence is high,' said Hilton.
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'All three of our strikers scored again on Saturday, as they have done for the last three games, so we're confident.'
Those three frontmen have racked up 55 goals between them so far this season – with top scorer Matt Blake so far plundering 29 goals in 30 games, Ben Thompson scoring 17 in his 28 appearances and Paul Cook weighing in with nine in 29, although Cook has started 15 of his games on the bench.
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It is this firepower that Hilton hopes will fire his high-flying team to victory today, as he has not been able to do much research on Ashford.
That is because the Nuts & Bolts have played only two league matches since a 4-3 home win against Rochester on November 15, due to postponements and their FA Vase run.
Two league games either side of Christmas brought 3-0 and 5-0 wins but so far this year they have played only a friendly against Ryman South side Hythe Town, winning 2-0.
'We don't really know a lot about them, they've not really had any fixtures and it would have been a long distance for us to travel to have a look at them anyway,' Hilton said.
'We know they are big and strong and have got a good striker from Thamesmead (Stuart Zanone) who a couple of our lads have played against before.
'The way I look at it, irrespective of who we were playing, our team probably wouldn't have changed much. We knew whichever team we faced at this stage of the Vase would be good.
'So we'll find out what they are all about in the first half, be strong, and if we need to make changes then we can.'
The victors will progress into the last-16 of the Vase and would be four games, including the two-legged semi-finals, away from a prestigious Wembley final.
Former Wroxham manager Hilton is not getting ahead of himself though, adding: 'Wembley hasn't even crossed our minds, certainly not mine anyway. We got to this round last season and got knocked out by Ampthill.
'This round is the furthest the club has ever been so we want to do better than last year and to win there would be another record for the club, but we've got to take it one game at a time.
'We set our target for the season of just to improve on last season. Our form in the league means we are certainly going to probably do the best the club has ever done, we got the furthest we have ever got in the FA Cup, so it's nice for the club stalwarts and gives everyone a lift.
'With the squad we've got, we could progress further.'
The only absence for United will be midfielder Matty Daniels, who scored the crucial goal in the Planters' 1-0 win at Tring in the last round, as he is unavailable.
Ashford have planned a pitch inspection at their Homelands ground for 8am, with low temperatures predicted overnight.