Shortwood United boss seeks FA Cup shock over Port Vale

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Alex Sykes, Shortwood United boss Nov 2013The Shortwood United boss who grew up a stone’s throw from Vale Park, now hopes to deliver an FA Cup giant-killing to his local club.

Alex Sykes, former Mansfield, Nuneaton and Forest Green Rovers player, is out to topple Port Vale in their first round clash on Monday night.

And he told StaffsLive how victory will be all the more sweet, as he grew up just yards from Vale Park.

“When I lived with my mum and dad, our first house was in the street behind Port Vale,” he said.

“But my earlier memories of watching football were going to see Stoke City in the First Division. I also went to Port Vale games, so I am not really one way or another.”

The tie is being screened live by BT Sport from Shortwood’s Meadowbank ground on Monday, kick-off 7.45pm.

“It is amazing for a club at our level, it is just amazing to think that we can get that,” Sykes added.

“I know the people behind the scenes have worked hard. I was at a committee meeting and all the considerations that need to be in place with being on television are now in place.

“But for us as a club the revenue that would bring for little things for example I know the floodlights were due an upgrade and the prize money from the FA Cup has gone to pay for that.

“Little things like that make a huge difference from what is a really well run family club.”

Sykes was one of three boys who grew up always watching the game. Both parents were also involved in the sport.

“My dad played a bit of football in Red Street, just north of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and for the Crown pub. I remember being there.

“I was one of three boys and so my mum got involved and became a qualified referee, the first female in North Staffordshire I think.

“My dad then became a referee so I spent most Saturdays and Sundays wondering round park pitches in Staffordshire watching games.”

(Additional reporting Thomas Lane)

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