‘It’s probably the biggest game the club has had in the last 10 years’ - Wroxham chief ready for Stowmarket in FA Vase
Wroxham are preparing for their “biggest game in 10 years” when they take on Stowmarket in the last 16 of the FA Vase at Trafford Park this afternoon.
That's the verdict of manager Jordan Southgate who is looking to take the Yachtsmen back to Wembley - nearly 10 years after they lost to Whitley Bay at the home of English football.
However, Southgate insists he won't let his players get caught up in the occasion with a bumper crowd expected against a Stowmarket side who are undefeated in the league this season and odds on for promotion.
"You have to try to enjoy these sorts of occasions and to win competitions like this you have to beat the best teams and Stowmarket are certainly one of those," said Southgate, who took the reins at Wroxham in the summer of 2018 after Jamie Godbold and Andy Reynolds left to join Lowestoft Town.
"They're undefeated in the league and deserve to be where they are. We know that we'll be the underdogs but the nature of a cup competition is that anything can happen. It's probably the biggest game the club has had in the last 10 years since the last run."
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Wroxham, who are also in the promotion shake-up, take on Stowmarket in the league in a week's time but it is the chance of taking a step closer to Wembley that's firmly on Southgate's mind.
"They are both big games but the cup game is first and that's what we've got to focus on," he said. "If you were to push me which one I'd prefer to win I'd say the Vase. You've always got another chance to make up points in the league but in a cup then you've only got one chance."
Former Norwich City striker Grant Holt is likely to lead the line for the Yachtsmen and the former Canaries' contingent is further strengthened by Simon Lappin in midfield and Adam Drury as Southgate's assistant.
The Wroxham chief admits their experience of the big occasion could play a pivotal role but has confidence the rest of his squad has what it takes mentally to advance.
"We look to those lads every week - but we've got other players who have got over 100 games at this level," he said. "We've just got to treat it like another game and that's where that experience can really help you."
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