Eastwood camp have no fears ahead of huge FA Vase clash at Ilkeston Town

Eastwood CFC managers Dave Marlow (left) and Jonathan Wass.
Eastwood CFC managers Dave Marlow (left) and Jonathan Wass.

Eastwood joint-manager Dave Marlow says his players have nothing to fear as they prepare to visit Ilkeston Town in the FA Vase on Saturday.

The winners will have only four rounds between themselves and a trip to Wembley on May 19, with Eastwood hoping to go one better than last season when they reached the same third round stage.

And Marlow can’t wait for what he expects will be a great occasion.

He said: “Aside from the league decider at Sherwood last season, this is the biggest game in our history so far.

“Ilkeston have a great setup and big crowds and I think our players will thrive on that rather than be intimidated by it. We are very much the underdogs so what we have to do is go there and be very organised, disciplined and follow the game plan we set out.

“We have to pay respect to them but also not give them the time and space as they will punish us.

“They have lots of strengths but they have weaknesses too and it’s important we try to exploit those as we have a lot of goals in our team if we get the chances.”

Last season saw Eastwood beaten by Northamptonshire side Desborough Town at the same stage and Marlow and fellow joint-boss Jonathan Wass are keen to see the Red Badgers go one better despite the quality of opposition they are up against.

He said: “When the competition started we said we wanted to get past this round and go further than last year.

“Obviously the draws get tougher as you go on but this really was one of the toughest draws we could have had, if not the toughest.

“There are a lot of strong sides from the north-east as always but I think Ilkeston are among the favourites to at least make the final.

“But if we beat them, I believe we can beat anyone, so why shouldn’t we dream of Wembley too?”

A four-figure crowd is expected at the New Manor Ground for the game, with Ilkeston averaging around 500 for their league games in the Midland Football League Premier Division so far, a league they currently lead.

Eastwood play a level below but are on a great run of form, with Marlow adding: “We’ve won 14 out of our last 15 games so confidence is sky high.

“The atmosphere will be fantastic and there will be at least 1,000 there so we can’t wait.”