St Ives ready for biggest game in club's history
ST IVES Town s players have the chance to make their mark in the biggest game in the club s history on Saturday, according to co-manager Jez Hall. Saints take on County Durham side Shildon AFC for a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase, leaving the
ST IVES Town's players have the chance to make their mark in the biggest game in the club's history on Saturday, according to co-manager Jez Hall.
Saints take on County Durham side Shildon AFC for a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase, leaving the winner just two games away from Wembley.
Hall said: "This year's squad have the chance to do what hasn't been done in the past two years. It's the best squad we've ever had, we are at full strength and we are ready.
"Shildon are a stronger team than Needham Market or Marske United, who have beaten us the last two years, so we will need to be at our best.
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He added: "As every year passes, the expectation grows, and that makes it the biggest game the club has ever played. All the players are just desperate to get out there now. It's a massive opportunity for them."
The club are expecting a full house to roar the Saints on at Westwood Road on Saturday, and hope to break the attendance record of 801 set against Cambridge United in August. However, Shildon are no strangers to an awayday: Saturday's game will be the club's 19th consecutive FA Vase tie away from home, and the club are expecting to bring around 150 fans.
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Scouts from St Ives have watched Shildon several times in recent weeks in preparation, while Shildon representatives watched Ives on Tuesday night at Wootton Blue Cross, and have been in contact with Marske United.
Hall said: "We've had a good look at them, so we're as prepared as possible. They play three up front, so we know that they are going to work our defence hard. Our two central midfielders will have their work cut out with their three in midfield, but we will be focusing on using our pace down the wings to stretch them.
"Our lads are clever enough players to tuck in and cover when needed, but we will need to be disciplined. We've beaten good sides in the past, so we know we can do it - we will just play as we know best.
"We're also relying on a great crowd at Westwood Road to lift the lads for the challenge.
"This is the chance for the players to prove themselves - I don't think we'll come up against a better team than Shildon, and if we can get past them I really believe we could win it.