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WATCH Avro are up for the cup
Tuesday 19th February 2019 @ 09:23 by Mark Phillip

Avro joint-manager James Hampson believes his players have the quality to net back-to-back promotions.

Following promotion from the Manchester Premier Division last season, in which the squad racked up 105 goals and fell to just two league defeats all season, Avro have hit the ground running in the North West Counties First Division North and are currently second in the table, nine points below Longridge Town but with three games in hand.

Not content with embarking on an impressive league campaign, Avro have taken their glittering form into the cup competitions and have subsequently booked their place in two semi-finals as well.

Hampson and co-boss Lee O’Brien have taken the squad to new heights in a relatively short period, yet the duo have no intention to stop and remain hungry for more success in the not-too-distant-future.

In fact, Hampson is confident that, if promotion does materialise this season, his charges can make an impact in step nine next term.

Following the 3-1 victory over Nelson in the Macron Cup quarter-final on Saturday, which came courtesy of goals from Jake Pollard, Joe Bevan and Louis Potts, Hampson told Reporter Sport: “We know what Nelson are like; they’re a very physical team who are in it for the full 90 minutes. 

“They work us hard and they’re very well organised defensively, so it was just a matter of us trying to move the ball quickly and breaking them down. 

“We played them in the league here and it ended 1-1. We went a couple of goals up today but they replied and it gave them a chance. Thankfully, Pottsy (Louis Potts) hit a great strike and killed the game off.”

Saturday’s victory had all the trademarks of a typical Avro performance; defensively astute and clinical in front of goal.

While the prospect of promotion is on every player’s mind, Hampson reiterated the need for his squad to stay grounded and treat every game with the same respect – regardless of the opposition. “We’re not prioritising the league or cups” he said.

“It’s a bit corney and cliched but we’re taking it one game at a time. We’ve got a very big squad which we can rotate regularly, and we’re also replacing quality with quality. 

“We’re now in two semi-finals and second in the league, so we’re very happy with that.”

Having fallen to just three league defeats all season, there is now a belief within the squad that they can win every game for the remainder of the campaign.

Hampson has nothing but praise for his players’ efforts this season, but even he won’t rule out the possiblity of recrutiing new faces in their bid for success. “We have belief in the squad and the players that we’re signing, and the spirit in the camp is fantastic” he said. “We’re riding the crest of a wave and everything’s pointing in the right direction. 

“We are keeping an eye on other teams in the league and teams that are above us in the pyramid. If players aren’t featuring for other clubs then we’ll have a word with them, but that being said, I’m very happy with the squad we’ve got at the moment. If a player becomes available then we’ll do it, but ultimately i’m more than happy with the squad.”

With 13 games of the league campaign remaining and two semi-finals to look forward too, there’s a tangible sense of excitement around the Vestacare Stadium.

Even though he’s under no illusion that the season is a forgeone conlusion, Hampson has allowed himself to dream of winning the treble.

Questioned on the prospect of competing in the ninth tier next season, Hampson said: “If you look at the players in the sqauad,  they’re all experienced at this level and higher levels too. Other teams that have come up from the Manchester League have adapted well and there’s no reason why we won’t be able to make the step-up. We might need to sign one or two to strengthen the squad – especially with experience at that level  – but I think we’ll be more than capable to do ourselves justice in that league.”

Avro have discovered their opponents for the Macron Cup and First Division Cup semi-finals.

The first leg of the Macron Cup, against City of Liverpool, will take place at the Vestacare Stadium on Saturday, March 30. The second leg will take place on Friday, April 5.

Meanwhile, Avro will travel to Bacup Borough in the First Division Cup semi-final on Saturday, March 16, before hosting the second leg on Saturday, March 23.