Ambitious boss targets trip to Wembley to lift FA Vase
GILLINGHAM Town boss Adrian Foster has set his side the ambitious target of winning the FA Vase this season.
The Toolstation Western League Premier Division leaders travel to Devon this weekend as they take on South West Peninsula League Premier Division outfit Plymouth Parkway in the first round of the competition.
With the final of the Vase being held at Wembley in May, the stakes are high in this competition, and Foster is determined that Gill will be one of two teams to face off at the home of English football.
Foster said: "Our aim is very much to get to Wembley and win the competition.
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"The FA Vase is massive as far as we're concerned, and it's the biggest cup that we enter each year. We play at the highest level that can enter it, there's no-one of a better standard than ourselves in it, so I want us to aim high and try our utmost to get as far as we can.
"Whether it's a league match or a cup match, we go into games to win them. It will be tough. There are an awful lot of teams from all over the country who will be trying to win it, but we know that on our day we can beat anyone, and we'll be taking it one game at a time to ensure we don't go out before we should.
"We seem to draw Plymouth Parkway every year in the Vase, so we know they're a good side who can pass the ball around well. It'll be a tough fixture, but I'm always confident of winning games and it will be no different on Saturday."
Foster also believes the financial rewards on offer for progressing far in the competition will help spur on the club.
"Everyone knows our aim for this season is to get promoted, and the further we get into the FA Vase, the more prize money we receive
"That will only help us if we go a long way in the competition and boost our challenge both this season and over the next couple of seasons," he said.
Gill increased their lead at the top of the Premier Division when they thrashed struggling Ilfracombe Town 6-0 on Saturday.
A second-half hat-trick from Phil Ormrod, plus goals from Aaron Rodriguez, Jon Vance and new arrival from Wimborne Town Steve Smith, saw the hosts ease to their fourth league win in a row without conceding.
It means Gillingham now have a five-point lead over Larkhall Athletic, and a good weekend for the West Dorset side was capped off by news that fellow title rivals Street had lost 1-0 at Odd Down to suffer a setback in their own title challenge.
Foster praised the work of his team in Saturday's match, and said the run of victories that Gill have put together in recent weeks has allowed his team to grow in confidence.
"It was a very strong performance by the lads," he said. "We knew that Ilfracombe could be a potential banana skin before the match and it was important that we focused on getting the win, whether we beat them 1-0 or 6-0.
"We didn't give them a chance all game, which was great to see, and we took the opportunities that came our way, which was the key to us taking the three points.
"Everyone's buzzing at the moment. The longer this good run goes on for the harder it will be for us to lose.
"It's helped us to instil confidence in the whole side and we go into every game full of optimism.
"We're scoring goals, we're keeping clean sheets. We've worked hard in training to get rid of some of the defensive errors we were making a few weeks ago and it's pleasing that we've managed to get ourselves on a good run and really kick-start our title challenge."
By Stephen D'Albiac