Brantham Athletic boss reacts to ‘tough’ FA Vase draw against Wembley

Fa Vase

Fa Vase - Credit: IAN BURT

Brantham Athletic manager Paul Abrahams hopes his side’s FA Vase clash will be the first of two trips to Wembley this season.

The Blues Imps, mid-table in Thurlow Nunn Premier, have been handed a tough away draw at Wembley FC in the Second Round of the competition – the final of which is held at the world famous stadium of the same name.

Brantham reached the fourth round last season and the fifth round, in 2013, losing to East Preston and Shildon respectively, but have a tough task on their hands to repeat that feat, according to Abrahams.

“We want to progress as far as we can in the competition but the draw has not been kind to us again,” said Abrahams, whose side had to go away to Hadley (Norfolk), Haringey Borough and the aforementioned East Preston, last season.

“They are a top-three team in the South Midlands Premier League, which is very competitive and, away from home, are probably one of the stronger opponents we could have drawn, but it is what it is.”

Brantham will be £1,200 better off should they progress to the third round and Abrahams says such rewards, plus the increased coverage afforded to the competition, are vital for lower non-league clubs.

“We are a very small club in the grand scheme of things,” the Brantham boss added.

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“Clubs of our size are dependent on the financial incentives on offer, while there is a lot more focus from the media on Vase runs.

“The local community comes out for these games, the media love it, and it gives us a break from the league.

“I played at Wembley FC in my Ryman League days and I am pretty sure they will be well organised and a strong, physical team.”

Abrahams took over last season, having originally joined the club as assistant to Colin Grogan, following the departure of Tony Hall, but the ex-Colchester United man’s plans are still very much in their infant stages.

“It’s very much a season of transition with 10 players having left in the summer,” he explained.

“The (first-team) squad contains four or five under-18s and one of the challenges that inexperience brings is to be more consistent.

“We might lose a few games but long-term, I am trying to set up a system where we can produce players capable and willing, and with the right attitude, for the first team.”