Hills Eyes Up Wembley Dream

EVERY English football manager dreams of reaching a Wembley final, and Keith Hills is no different, writes Andy Fitzsimons.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-19-26-45And while the road to Wembley may be long, the Knaphill boss is happy to cut a few corners to get there.

After reaching the fourth round of the FA Vase last season, The Knappers enter the non-league competition in the second round this season.

However, for Hills to stand any chance of walking out on the hallow turf at Wembley, his team must first overcome Highworth Town on Saturday (12 Nov.).

And with a further five rounds before the final, Hills knows that the task ahead is nothing short of one giant leap for man, and another giant leap for Knaphill Football Club.

Highworth are no strangers to The Knappers’ faithfull, as the Wiltshire side beat Knaphill at Redding Way last season in the early qualifying rounds of the FA Cup, so Hills’ men certainly have a point to prove.

“We’re a more experienced side now than when we last played Highworth,” said Hills.

“I know they had us watched on Monday [7 Nov.] when played Abbey Rangers, so they obviously have some concerns about us and how we play.

“I’m not sure how much they were able to take away with them on the night, as we were a different team against Abbey in the first half, as opposed to the second half,” he added.

In stark contrast, Hills admits he’s not been lured into watching Highworth play ahead of Saturday’s FA Vase fixture, as a lot can change in a week or two.

He said: “I’ve asked a few other managers about how Highworth play; all of whom have given me the same answers about their forward-line and defence, which is reassuring.   That’s enough for me.

“Whoever we’re up against, I try to stick with the same formation, which enables me to tinker with it as and when its required.

“It’s a formation that works well for us based on the players I have, and I have no plans to change that on Saturday,” he explained.

And while the dream of reaching a Wembley final remains the ultimate goal, Hills is more commercially astute for a few quick wins, which can help the balance sheets closer to home.

“The chairman [David Freeman] is always looks to improve the ground,” said the Knappers’ boss, “so any prize-money from the FA Vase will be a welcome addition to making some of those things happen.

“Knaphill is an ambitious club and will, one day, want to make that step-up.  Therefore, they’ll need to have the ground to support that; and a good cup run will certainly help,” he added.

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