Pilks and Burscough set for intriguing FA Vase clash
Pilkington FC will be hoping to claim the prize scalp of neighbours Burscough when the two clubs lock horns in what could be a compelling and captivating FA Vase second round tie at Ruskin Drive on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Dave Tickle's side are one division lower than their opponents in the NWCL set-up and victory for the hosts would be a feather in their cap against a club which lifted the prestigious FA Trophy at Villa Park in 2003 - the smallest team ever to do so - after starting the competition as 400-1 outsiders.
Since then Burscough have slid down the non-league ladder a few rungs but like the Glassmen they, too, will have to be at their best to book a passage into the next round.
Both teams are enjoying a more than reasonable season at this moment in time with 10 league wins each under their belts and far from out of the promotion race.
Home advantage is often crucial on occasions like this and no doubt Pilks will also be boosted by the fact that the Linnets' ace marksman Josh Quarless moved to City of Liverpool a couple of weeks ago.
But the playing conditions themselves will have little bearing on the final outcome - both play on a similar-type of artificial surface.
Who will win is anyone's guess but I've little alternative other than to sit on the fence - Burscough were formed by my late uncle after the end of the Second World War and until a few years ago, I had worked full-time at the St Helens Reporter covering Saints and to a lesser extent St Helens Town and was lucky enough to see skipper and former Manchester United full back Tommy O'Neil's side win the Vase against Warrington at Wembley in 1987.
Could it now be the Glassmen's turn to follow their ground-sharing rivals to the Mecca of British sport?
I think it is something they can only dream about but no one in their right mind would have given tuppence for Burscough's chances of winning the country's top non-league knockout competition and look what happened.18 years ago!