Vickers can cause Vase upset

Thursday 09th February 2006

VCD Athletic manager Martin Ford has a full squad to choose from for their biggest game in their history on Saturday.

Skipper Paul Foley and full-back Chris Whitehouse return following suspension and Kevin Winchcombe is back after injury but their only doubt is Martin Driscoll for their FA Vase fifth round tie at Cammell Laird.

The sole representatives from the Kentish Observer League are taking at least 71 supporters up to Birkenhead by coach and the players, that have lost their last three games, will be enjoying the hospitality of Premiership outfit Everton ahead of their big day.

Everton have kindly agreed to let the players have a look around their Goodison Park stadium when they arrive tomorrow.

The players will return to their training ground for a training session held in their full-sized indoor pitch.

“Everton have been first class for us,” said Ford. “They are returning the favour we showed them when they trained at VCD a couple of times when they played Charlton. We cannot thank them enough.”

Reflecting on their recent poor league form, Ford told “I know a lot of you will look at our recent form and think we do not having a hope in hell of causing a FA Vase upset this weekend when we taken on joint Vase favourites Cammell Laird as we embark on our trip to Liverpool tomorrow.

“Yes I am disappointed with the defeats to Thamesmead and Erith & Belvedere but I am not bothered.

“In both matches we were below strength and in all honesty I was looking to give as many of the players a game that needed one for fitness purposes ahead of Saturday.

“The players will say that they did not have one eye on the Vase but they did.  They all want to play and their minds, without doubt, were on this weekend.”

Ford has certainly done his homework on his opposition as both clubs bid to land a place in the quarter-finals.

Ford flew up to watch them last Tuesday, and said: “They did not disappoint me. They are a fine side and rightly so if they are joint favourites to win the competition.

“In saying that, however, we are a fine side too and in a one-off match with everyone fit and available like we are, then we are a match for anyone as well. So on that score we will give it our best shot.”

Ford is very pleased with the professional approach the club has taken to give the players every chance of causing an upset.

“The lads will enjoy the weekend no doubt. But we are going there to win a game of football and not for the jolly up,” he insisted.

“Over 150 supporters are making the trip north to support us, which is fantastic for a club of our size. We are all grateful for your support and we will try our best not to let you down.”

Work on the club’s Oakwood ground in Crayford gets underway next week, and Ford revealed: “It is a ten-week project with the pitch being turned round 90 degrees and re-laid.

“Floodlights will go up, new stands, changing rooms. Paths and fencing all done within that period.

“What we need now is the result to go our way on Saturday to what could be a fantastic weekend. Thanks for your messages of support.”

North West Counties Division One form side Cammell Laird have been in mind-blowing form in league and cup this season and only last Saturday pulverised North West Counties Division Two Nelson 14-0 in the North West Counties League Challenge Cup.

If they are victorious and go through to the last eight of The FA Vase it will be only the second time in their history.

To the Lairds, the key is the quality of the pitches they are playing on – and the one at Kirklands is in great shape.

“There’s no question the side can play football,” said a club spokesman on “They can pass it all day.”

Local comedienne Pauline Daniels is a regular at the ground, Ricky Tomlinson is well known for his support of the club and even Paul O’Grady has been spotted on the terraces.

Local businessman John Lynch has given the ambitious club the opportunity to improve the pitch and ground to the standard required if they are to go further up the pyramid.

“The FA Vase is bewitching us. It’s a competition any side at this level wants to win. Some websites are saying we’re 7/2 favourites to win the competition,”.

“I’m not sure I’d agree with that, but it’s a confident team out there right now playing excellent football.”

If any replay is needed it will take place next Saturday, 18th February.

Lairds record attendance at Kirklands was 1700 back in 1990, another FA Vase tie against Harwich & Parkstone, again in the 5th round.

There is every chance of coming close to that crowd with no other senior match being played on the Wirral.

Tickets for the game are priced at £6 for adults, £3 concessions and £2 for kids.

Supporters are advised to get to the ground early to avoid queues and delays.

Cammell Laird v VCD Athletic
FA Vase Fifth Round
Saturday 11th February 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Kirklands, St Peters Road, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead CH42 1PY