Leiston hope underdog tag fires them to FA Trophy upset

Into the fourth round of the FA Trophy for the first time, Leiston want to pull off an upset against National League side Aldershot Town

FA Trophy fourth round action pits Leiston against National League side Aldershot Town.
FA Trophy fourth round action pits Leiston against National League side Aldershot Town. Image: Ben Cunningham

By Megan Armitage, Sportsbeat

Leiston joint-manager Chris Wigger hopes the prospect of a free FA Trophy hit can fire his side to a fourth round giant-killing against Aldershot Town this weekend.

The Pitching In Southern League Premier Central side have progressed to the last 16 of the competition for the first time ever and will face their National League opponents at the EBB Stadium at the Recreation Ground.

And Wigger believes that the lack of pressure and freedom which coincide with being the underdog might just be the key to an exciting and historic game of football.

"This is the furthest in the competition that Leiston have got so it doesn't come with any pressure - it comes with freedom," he said.

"It's a free hit for us in that sense and we can go into the game with a little bit of excitement and enjoy the occasion knowing that we're not expected to win or progress to the next round.

It is the first time the team have reached the fourth round of the FA Trophy.
It is the first time the team have reached the fourth round of the FA Trophy. Image: Ben Cunningham

"We're ready to just enjoy the game and you never know what might come out of the other side.

"We're going to see if we can play that underdog card to the full effect and play the hand we're dealt."

Leiston qualified for the fourth round of the Trophy following their victory over Folkestone Invitica on penalties last time out, harbouring a secret weapon in 17-year-old goalkeeper Sonny Wright.

Wright, the son of former England and Arsenal goalkeeper Richard Wright, sent his team through to a historic fourth round in heroic fashion and could be called upon again, if necessary, on Saturday.

Wigger said: "In the third round, our goalkeeper called off on the Saturday morning, so we had a 17-year-old goalkeeper on the bus with us and it was all about giving him his debut.

"When it got to penalties, I knew full well that Sonny is a penalty expert so, I went into the shoot-out with full confidence, and it worked.

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"We'll be going back to our more experienced goalkeeper now but if it comes to penalties again, we know that we have Sonny."

Ahead of their clash with Aldershot, Wigger confirmed that his side are undergoing preparations for their biggest challenge to date, with a glimmer of hope for a fifth round miracle.

"We're going to prepare for this game as we would any big fixture," he said.

"From our point of view we're just very much looking forward to the challenge.

"We've got to a good position in the FA Trophy now and we will be giving it everything we've got."

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/