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Story posted: Friday, 20th November 1992

Neil deals Vase warning
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Long-serving Gresley Rovers midfielder Neil Lovell this week declared a twin testimonial year aim: to get back in the first team – and make another appearance at Wembley.
The popular Long-Eaton based Lovell has so far been unable to force his way into contention for a place in a side rated among this season’s FA Vase favourites.

But he had a timely word of warning on the eve of Rovers’ trip to Beazer Midland rivals Rushden & Diamonds.

“Everyone involved in our Wembley run of two years ago knows how important the FA Vase is to the players, the club and the supporters. The hardest match in the Vase is your first one – just remember Mile Oak, where we lost two years ago only to get reinstated.

“And that’s especially true this year because the draw has been unkind to us. I’m not in the frame for tomorrow’s game, but I just hope the lads can win it.”

Meanwhile, Lovell’s avowed aim is, if the Moatmen can get their Vase bandwagon rolling tomorrow, to be on it when it reaches Wembley.

“My ambition is to get back into the first team. But I’ll try and do that with football rather than moaning and groaning to the manager. Being in the reserves just isn’t the same – it’s not as cut and thrust. I’ve always said Gresley was the best club I’ve played for, and I’ll probably finish my playing days here.”

Thus Lovell sums up the attitude that earned him and his great friends and Rovers colleagues, Paul Acklam and Martin Dick, a testimonial year.

“The club came up with the idea and all three of us were just flabbergasted. Basically they said we can have a benefit match but, because there are three of us, we can organise one or two extra events.”

The first of these is a Race Night at the Moat Ground on Wednesday December 9th, followed by a buffet disco on Saturday, December 19th.

And the loyal trio hope to persuade Brian Clough to bring a Nottingham Forest X1 – Dick and Acklam are both big Forest fans and outvoted Lovell, a Sheffield United devotee – to the Moat Ground next year.
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