Northwich star Sale eyes FA Cup double

January 7, 2006

Mark Sale is enjoying a double dose of FA Cup fever as he plays for Northwich and lives and works in Burton.

The non-league teams have key dates in the third round on Sunday when they face opposition from the Premiership.

Northwich travel to Sunderland while Burton have the tie of the round as they entertain Manchester United.

'I might just put £10 on at the bookies for the underdogs,' quipped Sale.

The 33-year-old striker combines his role at Northwich by working for the council in Burton, coaching children.

He said: 'It is a nice mix for me but all I keep hearing at work is Manchester United.

'I have been trying to tell people about Northwich's big game but it has fallen on deaf ears.'

Sale has reasons to be cheerful ahead of the match after recovering from cancer.

'I didn't think I would be here today, never mind playing football,' he said.

'I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in December 1999. As it is over five years ago, I am now clear.

'I was full-time at Rushden and Diamonds when I became ill and tried to carry on.

'Then I moved to Doncaster Rovers but the every-day training was a problem.

'The part-time game suits me, training two or three times a week.

'Luckily I am still here. There are a lot of people who haven't made it. I am very fortunate.'

Manager Steve Burr has nothing but admiration for Sale.

'Mark has recovered from his illness and is still playing. That's testimony to him,' said the Northwich boss.

'People like him still want to earn the respect of players and win things. I am fortunate to have someone like Mark here as he is a good professional.'

Northwich, who are riding high in the Conference North, will be backed by about 3,000 supporters on Wearside.

Club chairman Michael Connett said: 'The guys are used to winning, they don't like losing.

'That's the big difference between ourselves and Sunderland.'

Burr has had a clean bill of health this week, apart from experienced midfielder Jon McCarthy.

However, the former Northern Ireland international, 35, is expected to recover from an ankle problem in time for the game.