Steeton manager Roy Mason says his team have a big carrot in their West Riding County FA Challenge Cup semi-final tonight (7.30).
The Chevrons face Goole United at county headquarters at Fleet Lane, Woodlesford – but the cherry on the cake would be the chance to run out at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground in the final against West Yorkshire Association League side Field on Monday, May 19.
“We have one or two United fans in our squad but the chance to play there is a massive incentive for us all anyway,” admitted Mason.
Thursday night may be a typical end-of-season choice for football matches but it isn’t normal at any other time in the campaign.
However, Mason says that his squad will be at full strength as they bid to reach the final for the first time in the club’s history.
He added: “We have had a while to prepare for this, with people ensuring they can get time off work if needed, but it helps that the kick-off is at 7.30pm rather than earlier.”
While the expanse of the Woodlesford pitch may be new to most of the Steeton squad, it won’t be to teenager Josh Ferguson.
Mason explained: “He was there last Saturday for Keighley Under-17s in the West Riding County FA Minor Cup final.
“The size of the pitch should suit our passing style and, although it is used a lot at this time of year, it will still be better than most of the surfaces that we regularly play on.”
Goole United are currently sixth in the Humber Premier Division and Mason said: “We have had them watched – Damien Whiteoak has done that while he has been injured – and they are a big, physical side. They have also watched us.”
Thanks to Pete Spencer, of locally-based company The Band Bus, Steeton are set to travel to Woodlesford on the Leeds Rhinos team coach.
And whatever the outcome tonight, the Chevrons will not lack for support. Mason explained: “We have already filled two coaches – we would probably have had three if it had been a Friday and people didn’t have to go to work the following day – and there are a lot going by car.
“We hope to have about 200 backing us and Goole will also have plenty of fans.”
In a busy time of year, Steeton have also had a couple of off-field issues to sort out.
Firstly they have had to change their headquarters from the Old Star pub to the Goat’s Head, after the former one closed.
Secondly, reserve-team coach Scott Turkington has had to quit due to work commitments. Mason said: “Scott has done a great job for a couple of years but is having to work abroad.
“We will bring in John Mortimer, who works with the youngsters anyway, to help reserve-team manager Clark O’Dwyer, and will probably make a more permanent announcement in the summer.”