Wembley trail is PNE boss’s cup of tea

Cup joy: Westley with Scott Laird after Stevenage had beaten Newcastle in 2011
Cup joy: Westley with Scott Laird after Stevenage had beaten Newcastle in 2011
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Preston North End will be at full throttle for the FA Cup this weekend as Graham Westley looks to continue his enjoyment of the historic competition.

The Lilywhites host Yeovil Town at Deepdale on Saturday, and PNE boss Westley doesn’t see it as a distraction from their League One activities.

He has had some good times in the FA Cup, with his former club Stevenage knocking Premier League side Newcastle out at the third-round stage in January 2011.

His last game in charge of Boro before joining North End earlier this year was a 
1-0 FA Cup win at then Championship leaders Reading.

During his tenure as Farnborough manager and chairman, he guided them to a third-round tie against Arsenal at Highbury in 2003.

Westley believes a run in the FA Cup can complement North End’s league form rather than hinder it.

They have done well in the two other cup competitions this season.

In the Capital One Cup, they knocked out Championship sides Huddersfield and Crystal Palace before falling to Middlesbrough.

And Preston remain in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, with a visit to Bury awaiting them in December after wins at Carlisle and Morecambe.

Westley told the Evening Post: “People talk about the magic of the FA Cup and that’s something I go along with.

“It’s a competition with so much history and tradition, and can give smaller clubs the chance to pit their wits against the big guns.

“Stevenage knocked Newcastle out two years ago, and then Reading last season, two results of which I was very proud of.

“Personally, I’ve got a good track record in the FA Cup and I’d like to continue here.

“There’s the financial aspect too and that is important to many clubs in the lower leagues.

“Unfortunately we are a League One club at the moment, so a run in the cup could bring some revenue in.”

The early rounds of the FA Cup don’t provide a great deal of revenue, with just £18,000 on offer for winners of first-round ties.

But the prize money increases round by round, with the Premier League and Championships clubs joining in the third round in January.

While the Yeovil game is high priority, Westley will also have to bear in mind that North End are quickly back in league action against Carlisle next Tuesday night.

So there could be some freshening up of the team for the visit of Carlisle.

A change will be needed in midfield, with John Welsh suspended for the Yeovil tie after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season at Tranmere.

Joel Byrom could a contender for the vacancy in the centre of the park, having been on the bench in recent games.

Former PNE boss Phil Brown has emerged as a leading contender for the Hartlepool job after Neale Cooper quit.

The Lancashire Evening Post has launched a FREE football app which is now available to download on iPhone and Android devices.