Over 600 sides started this competition and we find ourselves in the last 16 (last 10 now actually!). It is the furthest the club has ever been, by a country mile, in the FA Vase and we must enjoy this journey, as well as doing everything we can to keep it going!
We are obviously delighted to have reached this stage of the competition but we aren’t over-awed by it, we believe we are here on merit and also believe we are more than capable of going further in this competition. We have shown ourselves as a bit of a cup side this season and the players have risen to the occasion each time a big game has come along. Chertsey are flying high in their division, currently sitting in 2nd place, but the great thing is that we know all the clubs are playing at our level of football; this gives everyone the belief that they can beat anyone else.
The 4-0 win against Cadbury Athletic in the last round gave the players the confidence that they can prepare for big games, apply themselves and come out on top. The big home crowd definitely helped in that game and I hope we can get a similar turnout this weekend. Irlam is a massive football town and hopefully the ground can become the hub of our community again on Saturday afternoon.
We come into the game on a run of inconsistent form in all honesty; 2 brilliant wins against 1874 Northwich and Winsford United, slightly dampened by a disappointing performance against Litherland REMYCA in-between, who were very good on the night I must add. Chertsey are the top scorers in the Vase and 3rd favourites at this point, but we have scored 12 in our last 4 games and fancy ourselves to cause some problems of our own on Saturday.
It is brilliant that we watched Northwich Victoria progress last weekend with a 3-1 win away at Histon; two representatives from the North West Counties at the quarter-final stage of the competition would be a great achievement. After the draw at Wembley on Monday, we already know that the winners today face a tough trip to the North-East to face either Hebburn or West Auckland, who also play today, in the quarters.
Finally, I have to thank all the clubs and people from the league who have wished us well; we hope we can do everyone at the ground proud today. Thank you for your support and please make yourself heard today!
Updated 20:44 - 8 Feb 2019 by IRLAM FC