Published: 06:00, 24 January 2020
Deal Town manager Derek Hares is starting to wonder whether history is repeating itself.
Southern Counties East Hoops are through to the last 16 of the FA Vase for the first time since winning the competition at Wembley in 2000.
It would be some way to mark the 20th anniversary if they could go all the way again and Hares is daring to dream.
Northern League Consett – based 360 miles away in County Durham – await on February 8 after the Hoops’ penalty shoot-out triumph at Binfield last weekend.
Hares said: “The closer the final gets the more you think, could it happen?
“If we get through another round, things will really get exciting.
“We probably weren’t expected to win any of the last three games – Oxhey Jets, Southall and Binfield – so it’s no mean feat to get this far.
“We’ve got a long trip in the next round but if the boys play with the same character and desire they showed at Binfield, we’ve always got a chance.
“Like I’ve said, all the teams are at the same level.
“It’s not as though we have to play an Isthmian South or an Isthmian Premier side.
“Who’s to say we can’t keep going?
“I know some leagues are stronger than others but ours isn’t far behind when you think we had one team in the final and another in the semi-finals last year.
“It’s not impossible. I’m sure the boys will give their best and we’ll see what happens.
“It would be nice to be at home – I think we’d get a thousand in – but we’ve been away before and we’ll do it again.”
Deal were due to host Bearsted in a rearranged Challenge Cup tie last night (Tuesday).
They return to league action this Saturday with a trip to K Sports who, like Consett, play on 3G.
Hares believes Deal’s Vase exploits will help their league form, with the Hoops in 10th place.
He said: “The Vase keeps your season going and it means everyone is up for each game because they all want to play in the big ones and they have to play well to get selected.
“It’s a shame they can’t all play but that’s the way football works.
“Consett play on 3G so it will be good practice for us this weekend.”
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More by this authorCraig Tucker