Ely eye record run as they bid to close in on Wembley trip

Ely City will move within five wins of a trip to Wembley Stadium if they overcome Spartan South Midlands League strugglers Hatfield Town on Saturday (3pm).

The Robins are hunting a place in the third round of the FA Vase, a stage they have reached just twice before, with a final at Wembley also on the horizon.

Ely boss Alan Alsop is confident his side can overcome the Blue Boys and equal their best ever run in the national competition.

“After our defeat to Mildenhall last month, I set the lads a target of three wins in the league and a Vase win,” he said. “We’ve got the three in the league, so just need victory on Saturday to complete the set.”

Hatfield are fourth bottom of the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division having lost their last five games while shipping 26 goals in the process.

By contrast, City — last season’s Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division runners-up — have bounced back from a sticky start to the season to win seven of their last nine games in all competitions.

The winners will pick up £1,200 in prize money.

Alsop added: “You never get easy games in the FA Vase, but we are going their with confidence.”

Ely’s only injury concern is long-term absentee Dave Wilson, but he will step up his rehabilitation with a run-out for the reserves.

Despite losing Kenny Smith to Cherry Hinton and Lewis MacDonald to Soham Town Rangers, City’s squad is still strong, with centre-half Darren Coe providing solidity at the back and striker Andrew Claydon the goals, taking the latter to the top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier goalscoring charts.