Home-town hero David Foley urges South Shields to clinch dream Wembley date

David Foley thanks the fans after the first leg against Coleshill

David Foley thanks the fans after the first leg against Coleshill

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David Foley has urged South Shields to grasp their Wembley dream – as they may never get another chance.

The Mariners take on Coleshill Town in the second leg of the FA Vase semi-final tomorrow.

It’s potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and hopefully we can grasp it

David Foley

After winning the first leg 2-1, Shields will qualify for the final should they avoid defeat at Mariners Park.

Foley said: “It’s a dream to play at Wembley.

“It’s potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and hopefully we can grasp it.”

Shields will be backed by a ground record-breaking crowd of about 3,500.

The support for the Mariners ahead of the club’s biggest game in decades has been widespread, but few players can have felt it more than Foley, who is from the town.

He added: “The whole town is behind us, and with me living here, I experience that every day.

“Everywhere I go, people are talking about the club and this game, and you can tell how excited they all are.

“I work in a gym, and everyone there seems to be talking about it.

“All the shops are getting decked out in Shields colours and supporting us.

“We’re enjoying a lot of support and we really do appreciate it.

“As a Shields lad as well, it’s fantastic to be in the middle of it all.”

Shields go into tomorrow’s game with a slender advantage from the first leg.

However, the feeling in the Mariners camp is that they will have to show a much-improved performance if they are to reach Wembley.

Foley said: “It was slightly disappointing the way we played in the first half at Coleshill, but we put it right in the second half to win the game.

“The longer it went on, the stronger we seemed to get, so hopefully we can pick up from there tomorrow.

“We can’t take Coleshill lightly, though, because they have some very dangerous players and caused us problems last week.

“The tie is nowhere near over and we know there is a very difficult match ahead.”

Foley, a former professional with Hartlepool United, has big-game experience from his time with Puerto Rico Islanders.

He represented them in the CONCACAF Champions League against the likes of LA Galaxy, and hopes that experience will stand him in good stead in tomorrow’s huge game at Mariners Park.

He added: “This feels like a similar build-up to those Champions League games because we know what the prize is. There’s nothing bigger at this level and to get there would be a dream come true.”