As a former winner himself with Tamworth in the late 80s, Hinckley AFC manager Dale Belford knows just how special the FA Vase is.
He’s labelled his appearance at Wembley as one of the highlights of his playing career, but now sits in the dugout hoping to steer his Hinckley AFC side to progression in this year’s FA Vase.
Hinckley face AFC Mansfield at St John’s Park tomorrow hoping to overturn to divisional disadvantage and make their way into the third round for the second straight year.
Belford’s side are only just entering the competition at this stage as a reward for their fine run last term, in which Carl Abbott guided the side to the last 16.
But AFC will have their work cut out against a Mansfield side who have lost just once in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division this term.
They sit third in their league, three points behind leaders Handsworth Parramore but with two games in hand. They are five places above Worksop Town, who Hinckley beat in the Emirates FA Cup earlier this season.
Mansfield, too, are only entering at this stage after a good run last year. They reached the fourth round, being knocked one stage before AFC by Northern League side Sunderland RCA.
They are, though, missing players for their trip to Leicestershire – defenders Liam Marsden and Matt Plummer are nursing injuries, while their top scorer, 22-goal Ollie Fearon, is suspended.
Meanwhile, Hinckley will make late calls on Marcus Jackson and Jake Healy, who both came off nursing knocks during last week’s thrilling second half turnaround against Leicester Road, in which they scored three goals after the break to record all three points.
Should the match be level after 90 minutes, extra time will be played. If the sides still can’t be separated, the replay will take place at Mansfield’s Forest Town stadium on Tuesday evening, 14th November.
The winners will receive £900 from the FA’s prize fund, while the losers pick up £300.
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