Harborough Town ready for biggest game in their history - so far

Mitch Austin's Bees are bidding to reach the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Vase

By Jon Dunham
Friday, 14th January 2022, 7:00 am
Harborough Town take on North Shields in the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Vase this weekend

Harborough Town are gearing up for the biggest game in the club’s history so far - but boss Mitch Austin isn’t ready for their Buildbase FA Vase run to end just yet.

The Bees face a stern test in the fourth round tomorrow (Saturday) when they take on Northern League Division One high-flyers North Shields at the Harborough Town Community Ground.

North Shields won the FA Vase in 2015 and are one of the teams fancied to win it again this season.

But Harborough are hoping to keep their record-breaking run in the competition going and maintain their superb form this season, which has seen them lose just one game so far in the Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South.

And Austin has no doubts that his team will do everything they can to make it through to the last 16 and move another step closer on the road to Wembley.

“The club have already said it themselves so it’s not being over the top to say it’s the biggest game in the club’s history,” the Harborough manager said.

“It’s a prestigious competition, everyone dreams about getting to the final and we are still in it.

“Some clubs don’t get to the last 32 of their local competitions, let alone the last 32 of their national competitions.

“The club and the players should be really proud but I don’t want this to end here.

“If this is the biggest game of Harborough Town’s history then we have to make sure we do our utmost to go one step further.

“I want the next win and the next record to be broken. I know my boys will give me everything and leave everything out there. If we get a bit of luck and the footballing gods are on our side then you never know.

“We have home advantage and if we are down as underdogs then that’s what we want.

“We have had people talking about us when it comes to our facilities and budget but we are a good side and we deserve to be here.

“Long may it continue and hopefully we can get into the last 16 and if we do it will be another step closer to where we want to be.”

Austin has left no stone unturned in his preparation for the game and made the more than 400-mile round trip to go and watch North Shields thump lower-ranked Heaton Stannington 6-2 in a Senior Cup match last Wednesday.

The Bees boss knows his team are the underdogs this weekend but he is determined to ensure his team give as good as they get.

“We are probably the underdogs on paper but we have only lost one league game this season,” Austin added.

“They are right up there in their league but what gives them the advantage is that, notoriously, northern teams always do well in the latter stages of the FA Vase.

“I went to watch them last Wednesday, albeit in a cup game against a team from the level below but they were dominant and they were 5-1 up at half-time.

“We just need to do what we have done week in, week out all season. We won’t change for the occasion.

“We are a good side and they will have a tough, tough game on their hands and we have to make sure they are in for a really good fixture.”