Hotshot Tom’s Vase mission

Wisbech Town FC second half action. Tom James scored Town's second goal after eight minutes of the second half.
Wisbech Town FC second half action. Tom James scored Town's second goal after eight minutes of the second half.
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Tom James has every reason to be confident of firing Wisbech to FA Carlsberg Vase glory at Hadleigh United - he’s scored in each round so far.

Saturday will be a tough fifth round trip to the Thurlow Nunn League leaders for the Fenmen, but they have vaulted plenty of other tough hurdles so far in their run. The winners will bag £2,500.

James has made a big impact since arriving at the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium this season, scoring 23 goals in league and cups, including strikes in Vase victories over Gornal, Walsall Wood and Ashington.

Wisbech astonishingly have been drawn away in the competition for the past two years, but this does not bother James.

The forward joked: “I look forward to away games – they’ve got better pitches.

“I don’t mind playing away at all. There is no pressure on us.

“The Vase is our best chance of a trophy and the hardest chance of them all but it’s something we’ve got to try our best for.

“It’s what we’ve got left to win so we’ll give it our best every time we play.”

The Manchester United fan, who models himself after Barcelona’s Brazilian Neymar, added: “If we can defend better then we will be OK, as I’m sure we will score a few. I know I will! I’m positive we will score goals.”

Between them, he and strike partner Tony Battersby have scored 30 times this season.

James said: “I knew Tony before I came to the club. He wants to turn up and play football – and that’s what I like.

“He keeps it simple. He knows the score – he’s been an experienced Football League player.”

James said about his arrival at the club: “Me and Apps (former manager Steve Appleby) got on well – it’s the reason I joined.

“He decided to go after a few games but generally since then it’s been not bad.

“We have just got to concentrate on this Vase game as we got knocked out of the League Cup last Tuesday. I don’t know how we lost that game – it was two sloppy goals conceded.”

Stuart Crawford’s Hadleigh have a 15-point advantage over second-placed Felixstowe. Leading goalscorer is Josh Mayhew with 19 league goals from 27 games.

Hadleigh’s last five games (Saturday unless stated): January 11 Mildenhall Town (a) won 4-1; Jan 18 (h) Diss Tn won 3-0; Jan 25 (h) Norwich Utd lost 0-1; Tuesday, February 4 (Red Insure Cup Quarter-Final) (h) Newmarket Tn lost 0-2; Feb 8 (a) Kirkley & Pakefield P-P.