Wisbech Town assistant Dear believes ‘Fresh Fenmen’ will fire in FA Vase

Steve Appleby, left, and Chris Dear. Picture: Brian Purdy.

Steve Appleby, left, and Chris Dear. Picture: Brian Purdy. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech Town assistant Chris Dear believes an enforced festive break will help prolong the Fenmen's FA Vase exploits beyond Saturday's last 32.

The Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title-challengers had four matches postponed throughout December and January due to a mix of wet and freezing conditions.

Steve Appleby's side haven't been caught cold by their return to action, scoring 10 goals in their last two matches, and Dear thinks they can head to Gornal Athletic, if they beat the weather, for a fourth-round clash with a spring in their step.

The Fenmen assistant said: 'We're concentrating on ourselves a bit more than we have done. We may have not played so many games over the last month or so that we'd have liked but I think it's freshened the lads up.

'Scott Johnson is 34 and against Thetford on Saturday he was as fresh as you like. The break can work in your favour and it did for him, and some others, at the weekend. Our lads are looking fresh and if we perform at the level we expect we will be fine. Our problem has been our inconsistency but it's something we're looking to put right in 2013.'

Johnson netted during Wisbech's 5-1 weekend win at Thetford Town, as did Deakan Napier, Ollie Gale and Chris Bacon — who bagged a brace. The latter is suspended for the trip to the Midlands.

Gornal, who like the Fenmen play at Step Five of the non-league ladder, beat Rocester 3-2 on Saturday. But ahead of their history-making foray into the fourth round, the Midlands Football Division One Alliance have also been hit by a series of postponements.

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The village club, fourth in their league, have a number of games in hand on sides around them and Dear admits he expects another tough clash at the weekend if his beloved Wisbech, sixth, are to keep up their dreams of reaching a showcase Wembley final.

The former Fenmen defender said: 'Gornal have only lost once in the league, they're in the last 32, so they very clearly a good side. We've had them watched and they played Boston Town in the last round so we've spoken to Dunny (Ian Dunn, Boston boss) to get the low-down on them.

'We know enough about them and we're not underestimating them. They've not been here before which will provide them with the ability to play with freedom because nothing is expected of them.

'It's a similar sort of game to the Thackley match in the last round, where we performed very well (won 4-2). It's away. They're doing well in their league. And they're maybe not fancied to win the Vase, even if they're a good side on merit. I expect us to perform on the day.

'The boys feel we missed an opportunity last year against Dunston at home (who went on to win it after beating Wisbech in a fourth-round replay). It's given them extra hunger not to go out at the same stage this time round.'