Lankies and Ar Tarn hoping for some progress in the Vase

Rushden & Higham United manager Wayne Abbott leads his team into the first round of the FA Vase this weekend
Rushden & Higham United manager Wayne Abbott leads his team into the first round of the FA Vase this weekend

Rushden & Higham United and Desborough Town are gearing up for their FA Vase first-round clashes this weekend.

The Lankies, who are flying high in Division One of the ChromaSport United Counties League, have home advantage as they take on Highgate United at Hayden Road.

And boss Wayne Abbott is hoping a big crowd will be on hand to get behind his team.

“I am definitely not going into it thinking that just reaching the first round is a great achievement, I want us to go even further,” he said.

“We are at home, I think it is a winnable game even though we know it will be tough and we are enjoying a good season so far.

“It’s a massive day for our club and it would be great if we can get a few more people down to watch us.

“Any competition that culminates in a Wembley final should be the pinnacle for any player and that’s what I have said to our lads. Hopefully we can produce a big performance for a big occasion.”

For Ar Tarn, who made it four wins and clean sheets in a row with a 1-0 success at Wellingborough Town in the UCL Knockout Cup on Tuesday, a long trip to take on Herefordshire side Wellington lies ahead.

But manager Chris Bradshaw is in confident mood and said: “We have been going very well, we have kept four clean sheets in a row and we really had to battle for the cup win at Wellingborough on Tuesday.

“We can look forward to Vase now and it is a big two-and-a-half hour journey over to Herefordshire so that makes it difficult.

“I am sure it is going to be a tough game and we will have to be at our best if we are to win.

“But I fancy us against anyone.

“If we play to our best then I think we are capable of getting the right result.”

It’s derby day in the UCL Premier Division this weekend as Rothwell Corinthians take on Wellingborough Town at Sergeants Lawn.

Corinthians’ seven-match unbeaten run was ended in midweek as they had two players sent off when losing 4-2 at home to Cogenhoe United, despite goals from Joey Wright and Andy White.

The Doughboys’ 1-0 home loss to Desborough in the UCL Knockout Cup means they have now won just one game in the last nine in all competitions.

Meanwhile, it's Knockout Cup action for Whitworth this weekend as they entertain Premier Division rivals Boston Town at London Road.

Raunds Town moved four points clear at the top of Division One after a 2-1 win over Blackstones last weekend but suffered disappointment in the UCL Knockout Cup on Tuesday night as they were beaten 1-0 by Harrowby United at Kiln Park.

The focus switches to the second round of the NFA Junior Cup this weekend with the Shopmates hosting league rivals Bugbrooke.

Elsewhere in the competition, Stewarts & Lloyds entertain Burton Park Wanderers at Occupation Road, Irchester United host Cogenhoe United Reserves and Thrapston Town head to ON Chenecks Reserves.