STEVE Cunningham is hoping his Colne side can catch the imagination of the town with a run in the FA Vase.

The in-form Reds host County Durham outfit Newton Aycliffe in the second round tomorrow hoping to seal a place in the last-32 and move one step closer to a Wembley final.


The Newtonians are seventh in the Northern Football League First Division, but they will aiming to make it a hat-trick of East Lancashire scalps this season when they travel to the XLCR Stadium, having already beaten Barnoldswick 3-0 in FA Vase qualifying and dispatched Nelson 4-0 in FA Cup qualifying.

Cunningham has also seen the Moore Lane Park side first hand.

“We went to watch Consett ahead of our FA Cup encounter and we went up north to watch them they were actually playing Newton Aycliffe, so we’ve got a rough idea of what they’re about,” said the Colne chief.

“They also beat Barnoldswick in the FA Cup and they beat Nelson, so I’ve got some footage of them and some notes and I’ve also got my notes from when I went to watch them.

“They’ve got 13 lads from the West Auckland team and management team who went to the Vase final two of the last three years, so we’re up against it a little beat.”

Colne’s forerunners, Colne Dynamoes, were FA Vase winners at Wembley in 1987/88, and Cunningham is well aware how beneficial a good run in this competition can be.

“You’ve only got to look at the last time Colne did well in the Vase when they got the semi-final 11 or 12 years ago,” he said.

“They got beat over two legs by Sudbury Town but the crowd at home was just shy of 2,000. The imagination with this competition does come alive, especially with the history of Colne Dynamoes getting to Wembley.

“If we can get a win on Saturday there is no reason we can’t go on a bit of run. Some big teams have been knocked out already.

“People will start talking about us if we get through, given the history of Newton Aycliffe, and it could spark a lot of interest and hopefully we can take that into the league.

“We’ve been averaging crowds of 260 this season, we’ve had two 440s, if we can do well in the Vase you just never know, we might start seeing crowds of 500 or 600.”

Elsewhere, in the North West Counties Premier Division AFC Darwen host Abbey Hey and Barnoldswick Town are at home to Congleton Town.

In the First Division Bacup Borough visit Hanley Town.