Warrington Town striker Ben Wharton is hoping that tonight’s First Round FA Cup clash against Exeter City provides him with the platform to prove plenty of people wrong.
The 24 year-old who counts Stockport County and Rochdale amongst the list of clubs that have shown him the door, is likely to lead the Warrington attack this evening, in front of a sell-out 2,500 crowd and the significantly larger national audience provided by the BBC’s Live coverage of the game.
The forward, who has previously worked with League Football Education, to encourage young players to think about alternative careers away from the game, said:
“Since the draw it’s been non-stop, I’ve spoken to some of the lads today who’ve told me they couldn’t sleep last night with excitement. Tickets for the game sold-out in 2 hours so we’ll have a capacity crowd backing us.
“The BBC camera’s bring that added element and there’ll be a lot of people watching who’ve let me go in the past. I’ll be aiming to prove a few of them wrong and show everyone that I’m a good player.”
While Wharton and his part-time team-mates unsurprisingly start this evening as massive underdogs (they are the lowest ranked club remaining in the competition) against Paul Tisdale’s League Two side, the striker has spent this morning warming-up for the occasion by coaching children in his day job operating a Footytotz franchise.
Keen to put one over on the Grecians, Wharton talking to LFE, at the aptly entitled Rough N Tumble facility in Stockport, continued:
“We’re aiming to give a good account of ourselves. We believe we can win and stranger things have happened in football. They are obviously full-time so they will be a lot fitter than us and it’ll be tough but all our players are well up for this one. We’ve had to play 7 games (including 2 replays) to get to this stage so it’s our Cup Final.
“The club have got commemorative shirts done which we can keep after tonight and we trained at Finch Farm (Everton’s training ground) on Monday and Wednesday which was great, having a facility to ourselves and not having to share pitches or dressing rooms as we’d normally do on a training night.
“The club have been absolutely brilliant and this game, especially with the coverage we’ve received generates a huge revenue which helps enormously.”
While the former Rochdale apprentice admitted that he had been inundated with ticket requests for the game, he conceded that he had been amazed by the well wishes of dozens of people including BBC Pundit and former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage:
“My phone has been going wild,” Wharton added.
“There are no complimentary tickets for this one, so I’ve had to buy 37 tickets for friends and family which has cost me over £550.
“It’s crazy to get a good luck message from Robbie Savage. I see him in my local gym and I just hope I don’t get too much stick off him when he’s analysing the game.”