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Friday, January 4, 2008
Chasetown chief dreams of FA Cup triumph

Chasetown boss Charlie Blakemore hopes his side can take inspiration from FA Cup folklore when they host Cardiff on Saturday but remains cautious over their chances of another giantkilling act.

The British Gas Business Division One Midlands side are the lowest ranked side to ever reach the third round after shocking Coca-Cola League One Port Vale with an 89th-minute winner in their replay.

They now face an even more daunting task against a Bluebirds side six divisions above them in the Championship and who have won five of their last seven games.

However, that will not stop Blakemore dreaming of his side making even bigger headlines.

'I have been watching the FA Cup since I was a little kid,' he said. 'There's a magic about it. I remember watching Hereford beating Newcastle when Ronnie Radford scored that goal.

'I think 'crikey, I wonder in years to come whether people will remember Chasetown doing the same thing'.

'I still look at the third round draw and I'm pinching myself that we are in it.

'I did not sleep a wink the night we beat Port Vale, all I could think was we are in the third round of the FA Cup!'

The club were only recently given the green light for the tie to be played at their Scholars Ground with Staffordshire police keen to see it moved to a bigger venue.

And with temporary seating now in place behind each goal to boost the capacity to the 2,000 mark, Blakemore is keen to make home advantage count.

'It makes me smile when people call it a stadium,' he added. 'The club have to try and make everything work in our favour.

'Whatever we do I'm sure it won't be to the standard that Cardiff are used to.'

The Scholars, who will use Wolves' training ground today in preparation for the 1pm kick-off, remain unbeaten since their victory over the Valiants on December 11 - something for which Blakemore believes his players deserve great credit.

However, he concedes they will need to produce the performance of their lives if the cup dream is to live on.

'I'm really proud of them, he said. 'I know they would run through a brick wall for me.

'I would run through the same for them. On Saturday we will have to run through 10 brick walls if we are to get something from the game.'

He added: 'If you look at the gap between us and Port Vale it's massive but there's a massive gap between Port Vale and Cardiff. You can get caught up in the romance.

A win would take the non-league club's FA Cup winnings to an impressive 226,000 in the last three years after they reached the first round two seasons ago.

Chasetown Chairman John Donnelly said: 'The money from the 05/06 run was spent on ground renovations and invested into a fund to build a new stand behind the goal. The run we've had this season means that we've been able to get the ground ready for the Cardiff game this weekend, and planning permission allowing, we can start building our new stand at the end of this season.'

'The prize money from their recent cup runs has been a major boost for us, and has helped us move forward at a faster pace, but we have our feet on the floor at Chasetown and go one step at a time.'

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