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Story posted: Friday, 22nd March 1991

Rovers at the ready
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Gresley Rovers manager Frank Northwood today began the countdown to the “biggest game in the club’s history” by naming a full strength squad for tomorrow’s FA Vase semi-final against Littlehampton Town at the Moat Ground.
That means that striker Carl Rathbone, scorer of four goals in Rovers historic run to the last four, has recovered from the neck injury that kept him out of the last three games.

Northwood presided over a gentle training session at the Moat Ground last night – filmed by BBC cameras for a slot on tonight’s Midland regional news programmes – then admitted: “At the moment we’re feeling calm, but there’ll be tension on Saturday – it’s obviously the biggest game in the club’s history.

“All that tension will go though when the ball starts rolling. We’re not worried about the prospect of a big crowd – we’ve had a few of them here before and the lads won’t hear anything once the game starts.”

Rovers scout Kenny Blair has handed Northwood and coach Steve Dolby a detailed analysis of Littlehampton’s strengths and Northwood said: “All through this run the boys have responded very well to what we’ve told them and we hope they’ll carry that on for the next two Saturday’s.

“We shall have every respect for Littlehampton – they’ve done themselves proud by reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup and the semi-finals of the Vase this season.”

Northwood believes, however, that Gresley’s “family atmosphere” could give his side the edge.

“Ninety per cent of the lads have been here a couple or three seasons and it’s like a family affair. They’ll be calling me ‘dad’ one of these days.

“Our success has certainly got everyone talking – even in my part of the world, round Wolverhampton, everybody is buzzing.

“No matter where you go, they’re talking about Gresley and wishing us luck.”
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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