The Wire, as Warrington Town often go by, are in town tomorrow for the first ever meeting with the Fleet as the Buildbase FA Trophy prepares to whittle down its intake to 16 clubs. The EvoStik Premier Division club, in third place and gunning for promotion, have previously reached a Trophy quarter-final and have also played at Wembley in a Vase final and Daryl McMahon has warned that anyone at this stage of the competition can dream of a visit to the National Stadium.
“We might go all the way, Warrington might,” McMahon said. “There’ll be teams across the board feeling the same way. We believe we’re good enough to win games of football at this level and it’s the highest level in the competition so there’s no reason why if we get on a good run we can’t go all the way.”
Getting off a run was more important for the Fleet this week after ending a mini slump of three games without a win in fine style at the Gallagher Stadium. That is an excellent springboard for a return to the Kuflink Stadium this weekend as the Fleet will hope to avoid a nasty surprise by a north-western side for the second successive Saturday. Lawrie Wilson is in line to make his home debut while McMahon reported a clean bill of health right through the squad, bar Darren McQueen’s long-term injury and Febian Brandy’s ongoing hamstring issue.
“Warrington are going well in their league, there’s no easy games of football and they’ll see it as a free hit coming down to us,” McMahon said. “We have to make sure we perform properly.”
Warrington are managed by Paul Carden (pictured above), the former Southport boss who has also had spells in coaching roles at Cambridge United, Tranmere Rovers and Luton Town. He was player/assistant manager at Cambridge when The U’s signed McMahon back in 2009 and he said that, “When I’ve seen Daryl McMahon’s teams play, they like to keep hold of the ball like he did. I know he’ll have them playing football. Ebbsfleet are not the biggest club in the National League, but they pay well and they have a good, strong squad.” Warrington, too, are an ambitious club and they awarded the manager a new two-and-a-half-year contract recently and at one stage had a plan for League football by 2020.
Carden’s own squad is a blend of experience and promising youth. They have former Tranmere veteran Steve Jennings on loan from Southport and he has also played in the SPL with Motherwell, lining up against Celtic in the 2011 Scottish FA Cup Final. And goalkeeper Tony McMillan will be hoping to improve on his last appearance at the Fleet, when he let in four goals in Southport’s 4-1 defeat here five years ago.
Former Notts County midfielder Will Hayhurst is a new signing and has 50 games in League One to his name while other experienced players include striker Tony Gray (Southport and Chester), Jack Higgins (York City) and skipper and former Everton U18 player of the year James McCarten.
Gray is likely to be Warrington’s chief threat alongside promising strike partner Jamie McDonald while winger Dylan Vassallo interested scouts from the Football League before signing a new contract in the summer. Carden has also recruited two new loanees this past week, wide midfielder Devarn Green from Tranmere and defender Tom Hamer from Oldham Athletic.
(Photo credit: John Hopkins)