Historic day as Longridge Town make FA Cup debut

Young striker Paul Turner has been handed his chance by Longridge Town manager Lee Ashcroft
Young striker Paul Turner has been handed his chance by Longridge Town manager Lee Ashcroft
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Longridge Town boss Lee Ashcroft is ready for a history-making day on Saturday when the club plays its inaugural FA Cup tie.

Town welcome Barnoldswick Town to the Mike Riding Ground for an extra preliminary round that sees them taking part in the world’s most famous cup competition for the first time.

For good measure, the trophy itself will also be on display at the club.

Small wonder then that Ashcroft cannot wait for the weekend and hopes to see the Longridge community turn out in force.

“It’s going to be massive; not just for the players but for the town as well,” Ashcroft said.

“The trophy is coming to the ground as well so it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a club like ours.

“Five years ago, when I took over as manager, I never dreamed that we’d be in the FA Cup so we have to be proud of what we have done and how far we have come – it’s such a long way.

“When myself and Kevin (Harrison, Town chairman) sat down last year, the aim was to finish in the top four and try to have a chance of getting in the FA Cup. We won the league instead and got in the Cup anyway, so all that hard work that’s been done to get the ground up to speed and all the work that’s been done off the pitch will get its reward on Saturday.”

The winners of the tie on Saturday will make it through to the preliminary round where they will play either Charnock Richard or Lower Breck on Saturday, August 24.

Victory would also be welcome from a financial perspective with the winners picking up £2,250 from the competition’s prize fund, while the losers will collect £750.

Town go into the game looking to make amends for Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat at Irlam.

A disappointing night for Town saw striker Paul Turner limp off during the first half after making a big impact with a goal against Avro on the opening day.

Having seen Jay Hart, Richie Allen and Isaac Sinclair depart, Ashcroft has put his faith in Turner, who penned a two-year deal last September.

“I’d promised Paul through pre-season that he’d have his chance,” Ashcroft said.

“He has a great attitude because he just wants to play. He was patient last season and popped up with goals when he was needed.

“I do finishing drills with him in training and you can see his hard work paying off.”