Hebburn Town manager Kevin Bolam turns focus back to Northern League after FA Vase heroics

Hebburn Town manager Kevin Bolam wants his side to “re-focus” on their Northern League title challenge after their FA Vase heroics.

By Mark Carruthers
Friday, 14th February 2020, 2:58 pm
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 2:58 pm
Hebburn Town FC manager Kevin Bolam.
Hebburn Town FC manager Kevin Bolam.

The Hornets are still on a high after reaching the last eight of the Vase for the first time in their history after a 1-0 win at Longridge Town last weekend.

They will now entertain Western League promotion challengers Plymouth Parkway at the Energy Check Sports Ground on the last Saturday of February.

But their immediate focus will be on this weekend’s visit to struggling Thornaby as Hebburn look to close the gap on league leaders and title favourites Stockton Town.

Bolam is confident that his players will go into the game in the right frame of mind as they look to gain revenge for a 4-1 home defeat they suffered against the Teesside outfit in September.

The Hornets boss said: “We are back to focusing on the league and we are facing two difficult games against sides at the other end of the table.

“It’s time to refocus and they are experienced enough to know that the Vase has to go on the back-burner for now.

“Thornaby are one of a handful of sides that have turned us over at our place, but there are no thoughts of revenge, that defeat was a long time ago.

“We will go down there hopeful of picking three points, but we have to be at our best because they are a dangerous side on their day.”

Bolam’s plans for the trip to Teesside suffered a blow last weekend when top goalscorer Graeme Armstrong suffered a fractured jaw in the Vase win in the North West.

The veteran striker is expected to be out of action for over a month – but Bolam has a number of options to replace him.

Olly Martin has shone in recent weeks and Luke Sullivan impressed as a substitute at Longridge.

New signing Cedwyn Scott also made his debut at the Mike Riding Ground and will be in contention to make his first league start since he joined the Hornets from Dunston last weekend.

Ahead of the trip to Teesside, Bolam challenged the trio to give him “the sort of problems that managers dream about”.

“We are hoping it might be a little bit less in terms of how long Graeme might be out, but we do have a number of options to replace him.

“Olly Martin has scored a lot of goals for us in the Vase and when we lost Graeme last week, we were able to give Cedwyn a chance.

“He was so busy; his movement was good and he nearly got himself a goal when he had a shot cleared off the line. We also have Luke Sullivan and he came on and played well.

“All three have the opportunity to come in, stake a claim and give me a bit of a headache. But they are the sort of problems that managers dream about.”

Midfielder Robbie Spence will be the other absentee from the Hornets squad as he serves a suspension.