Harrogate Railway and Town target FA Cup progression
FA Cup memories will be at the heart of emotions as Harrogate Railway and Harrogate Town prepare to take another step on the long road to Wembley on Saturday.
Having already progressed through two rounds, fire-breathing Railway are poised to cause the FA Cup shock of the second qualifying round when they visit Welsh side Colwyn Bay, the side that knocked Town out of the cup last season.
More than 1,000 spectators are expected at the CNG Stadium when Town welcome fallen giants Stockport County.
The Harrogate Advertiser is issuing an FA Cup rallying call urging fans to back their hometown clubs in England’s premier cup competition.
With Harrogate having a healthy tradition for cup fever this Millennium, both clubs are hoping the past can inspire another deep assault.
Railway have twice reached the first round proper in the last 15 years, and boss Billy Miller said victory on Saturday would be equivalent to reaching the quarter-finals for his men.
“It’s the biggest game for the club in years,” said Railway manager Billy Miller.
“The club’s got a long history in the cup but we will just go and have a go. I have always said for any club to reach the first round proper is an achievement that might come true once in a lifetime.
“It happened twice in five years for Railway. All the memorabilia is up in the club. There’s no getting away from it but we shouldn’t be scared of it.
“We should be looking at that and saying it proves it’s not just a pipe dream. The prize money alone at £4,500 is a huge incentive for the club in terms of ensuring the budget.
“We can start building for next year instead of worrying what the budget is come May. It’s a huge game.”
Town boss Simon Weaver has backed his troops to bag an FA Cup run to match the heroics of his giant-killing side of 2012. But County represent one of the toughest tests at this stage of the competition and Weaver was aware their visit would be a tough challenge.
However, the Sulphurites head into the clash on the back of a 3-1 win over Leamington, and the boss was confident his men could stir up another mazy run. “We always like to do well in the cup,” he said. “Two years ago it brought about a special time at the club. You only had to go to the centenary day to hear what it meant to ex-players. We would love to do it again.
“But we couldn’t have been drawn against a much bigger club at this stage. It’s going to be an exciting match.”
Railway have already beaten Garforth Town and Clitheroe to reach the second qualifying round, and the run has been Miller’s best during his time at the club.
And, with his side having scored 21 goals already this season, he believes the attacking quintet of Adam Baker, Nathan Cartman, Lamin Colley, Malachi Farquharson and Robbie Youhill will cause issues to their more established opponents.
He added: “We will go and enjoy ourselves and have a good day out.
“We go into the game at strength with nothing to lose and everything to play for.
“There’s no pressure on us. If we get beat, everyone is expecting it. The pressure’s all on them. We are a potential banana skin. I am sure they will be decent and will be well organised. But we have to upset that. We have goals in the side. We have to aim to be in the draw by 5o’clock on Saturday afternoon. Fingers crossed we will be.”