Football: Norton up for cup clash with Valiants
NORTON UNITED are lining up a Potteries double as they look forward to facing Port Vale in the quarter-finals of the Staffs Senior Cup.
Scott Dundas's side progressed to the last eight with a 3-2 win over Stoke City. Their reward is a home game against Vale, set to be staged at the end of January and already eagerly anticipated at the Community Drive ground.
The game is the ultimate local derby as the two clubs are only separated by a mile along Smallthorne bank.
To add more spice to the fixture, several of Norton's players also play for Potteries League Sunday side Sneyd, who are managed by Vale players Tom Pope and Adam Yates and have their home games at Norton's ground.
"It's a great draw for us," said Norton manager Scott Dundas.
"Our players Tom Winkle, Darren Chadwick and Ben Clarkson also play for Sneyd, so they've been asking Tom if he'll be coming down to have a game against them. With the form he's been in, I very much doubt it.
"Our best attendance so far this season (204) was for the Stoke game, but with this being such a local game hopefully we can beat that one.
"A lot of our players are Vale fans so it's a game to really look forward to. We'd also love to get Vale in a friendly here next pre-season, so that's something we will also work on."
Of more immediate importance to Dundas is tomorrow's FA Vase second-round game at Lincolnshire side Deeping Rangers.
Norton reached the fourth round of the competition last year and go into this game in decent form following last Tuesday's 2-0 win at Ashton Athletic and a 5-3 home win over Glossop North End on Saturday.
However, Dundas has injury worries. Midfielder Mark McDonald is out with a broken toe and keeper Richard Brandon is also set to miss the game having dislocating his finger after just 20 minutes of the win at Ashton.
Midfielder Tom Winkle played the rest of the game in goal as Norton finished with a victory and a clean sheet.
"To be fair, he didn't have all that much to do," added Dundas.
"Mind you, the way Tom tells it, he made nine or ten world-class saves."
Dundas borrowed Leek Town keeper Daniel Lloyd-Weston for last Saturday's game against Glossop and is hoping to do the same for Saturday's Vase game.