After eight hard weeks campaigning on the road in the League, it’s a slight change of pace, albeit still on the road, for the Ravens this week as we travel to play Avro FC in our inaugural Cup competition, the FA Vase Second Preliminary round tie.
Our Opponents this Week
Avro F.C. were formed shortly before World War II and take their name from the “A V Roe” aircraft factory, that famously built the ‘Dambuster’ Lancaster bombers. They are based in Oldham, Greater Manchester, and play at the Vestacare Stadium which, like our very own Bowl, has a 4G artificial surface.
Avro currently sit ninth in the NWCFL Premier Division on 16 points, just three points off the play off positions. They have quite an impressive history having won three Manchester League Premier Division titles, the most recent being in 2017-18, the season they did the double by winning their 10th Manchester County Cup. The league title win that season resulted in Avro being elevated to the NWCL Division One for 2018-19 and they were subsequently promoted to the Premier Division that very season.
FC Isle of Man Team News
After last week’s heroic performance from what was a largely youthful squad at Stockport Town last week, Manager Chris Bass, is none the less relieved to get some of his injured players back for this weekend’s important cup clash.
Both Furo Davies and Michael Williams (missing since week one) have successfully trained all week and are certain to be back in contention for selection. Also, Dan Simpson is back after being unavailable last week. Upon saying that, all three may find it tough to oust last week’s forward line of Murray, Doyle and Whitley.
Murray, although largely quiet last week, has been arguably the Ravens most influential player so far this season, but both Doyle and Whitley have made vital contributions throughout the campaign too, not least during last Saturday’s nail biter at Stockport Sports Village.
Bass is particularly looking forward to this FA Vase game.
“It’s great to be playing in such a prestigious competition,” said Bass. “We’ve got a couple of players back this week which will help and we’re looking forward to the tie.”
“It’ll be another good test for our players, who are improving game on game, especially as Avro play a level higher than us so we are expecting a really tough match. Upon saying that it’s a Cup tie and anything can happen, and I believe we have the players to win the game.”
The FA Vase – a brief potted history
The FA Vase replaced the old FA Amateur Cup in 1974 and clubs from Steps four down are eligible to enter. There are six rounds ‘proper’, preceded by two Preliminary rounds. The semi-finals are held over two legs and the piece de a la resistance is the final which is played at Wembley Stadium and in recent years has been covered live by BT Sport.
Whitely Bay (nothing to do with our Ste) have won the most Vase competitions (four) and the holders are Warrington Ryland from the Northern Premier League.