Table-topping Stowmarket target a long run in the FA Vase

Dom Docherty, right, is back in the Stowmarket Town squad after a six-week absence through injury. P

Dom Docherty, right, is back in the Stowmarket Town squad after a six-week absence through injury. Picture: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

Stowmarket Town manager, Rick Andrews, insists that the FA Vase is a “competition to target” for his ambitious Greens Meadow side, although he concedes that tomororw’s second round clash at Colney Heath will be a big test.

Top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier League by an impressive 13 points, Stowmarket have yet to lose a league fixture with 12 wins and three draws from 15 starts, although hosts Colney Heath have been just as prolific in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier.

In fact, the Hertfordshire-based club won their first nine league games on the bounce, before dropping points for the first time in a 1-0 defeat at Oxhey Jets on Tuesday night.

Stowmarket's only defeat this term has been in the FA Cup, 1-0 away at Cheshunt in late August, but they would like to make amends with a strong run in the FA Vase.

"No one is ranked higher than us, league-wise, in the FA Vase. It is a competition to target," insisted Andrews.

"We want to go as far as possible in the competition and have some success along the way, although much might depend on cup draws and injuries. We want to do well.

"This weekend will be a test. Colney Heath have been going well in their league, and we couldn't really have asked for a more difficult tie.

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"We are confident as a group, and we will have at least 100 fans travelling this weekend, so we will be well-supported, which is another reason why we are keen to do well.

"The crowds have been good at Greens Meadow, and as we have done on every occasion this season, we bounced back from a slightly disappointing result (1-1 home draw with Swaffham) by doing well in the next game (3-0 win at Kirkley & Pakefield last weekend)," added Andrews.

Defender Sam Nunn and striker George Clarke are both currently on loan at Felixstowe & Walton United, but Stowmarket's squad is looking stronger than it has ever been this season.

Midfielder Dom Docherty and Leon Ottley-Gooch are both pushing for a return to the squad, after their respective injuries.

Andrews confirmed: "Dom is back in training, and he is flying.

"He has not played for six weeks, after turning his ankle in training, but he's back in contention now and should be on the bench at least, for sure.

"Leon has been out for 10 months, after tearing his groin/hamstring while playing Footgolf. He has played three or four games for the Reserves, and has been training very well.

"We have been managing him, so the squad is looking very strong. It's all come at a good time for us," added Andrews.

Tomorrow's hosts Colney Heath (based near St Albans) beat Flackwell Heath 3-2 away, after extra-time, in the previous round.

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