Up For The Cup Avro v East Manchester, Manchester Challenge Trophy
Wednesday 21st February 2018 @ 12:31 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Avro have the chance to claim their first piece of silverware this season when they lock horns with East Manchester in the Manchester Challenge Trophy final on Friday.

Taking place at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields Stadium, the game will see two of the best sides in the Manchester Premier League battle it out for the prestigious trophy.

Avro are flying high in the Manchester Premier League this season and look set for promotion to the North West Counties First Division under James Hampson and Lee O’Brien. Such has been the quality of the Avro squad this season, the club have failed to lose a league fixture all season, winning 18 and drawing one of their 19 games so far.

Their only blip came in a penalty shootout defeat to Rochdale Sacred Heart in the Gilcrsyt Cup at the start of February.

Although the odds are slightly in favour of an Avro win on Friday, it will be no easy task against East Manchester who enter the game as reigning champions. The squad will be hoping to retain their crown after beating Wythenshawe Town 4-0 in last season’s final.

Speaking ahead of the tie, which kicks off at 7.30pm, joint-manager James Hampson told the club’s website that his players are raring to go after a weekend hiking trip at Dovedale. “We’ve all just about thawed out now” he said.

“As soon as Saturday’s away game at Old Altrinchamians was called off, all our attention switched to the final on Friday at Ewen Fields. We immediately decided on a bit of team bonding rather than just getting the players ran, having a laugh as a team and something a little bit different than football, so we went for a hike up at Dovestone Reservoir near Oldham.

“All the lads enjoyed it, had a laugh and it was something different. It’s a massive final on Friday, and Eats Manchester are the only blip on our unblemished record this season, gaining a 1-1 draw at the Vestacare Stadium in October.

“All the players and staff are truly focused and motivated to be successful on Friday. We can then focus on the league after that game, but as we’ve been saying all season long, ‘one game at a time’ – and the final on Friday is just that!”

Meanwhile, assistant boss Paul Armstrong said he’s delighted with the way the season has gone and believe his side have what it takes to stay unbeaten. He said: “The main now is obviously to stay unbeaten. I believe we have the right amount of fight and flair in this squad to achieve this. The likes of Hindsford away – a very tough fixture, showed we have the guts for a fight. Losing our main striker has knocked us a little in recent weeks, but we believe we have found the right person to replace him now – a player who has dropped down from a higher level to joins us at Avro, and will be eligible to play after the final.”

Picture: Avro players at Dovestones