Bradford Town v Portishead Town
The FA Carlsberg Vase
First Round Qualifying
3pm, Saturday 7 September 2013
Bradford on Avon Sports and Social Club
Winning club will receive £600 from The FA prize fund
First Round Qualifying ties
Lee Ballard is probably one of the youngest managers in the game - let alone in The FA Vase this weekend.
Ballard, 24, became player-manager at Portishead this summer and his team will travel to Bradford Town looking for a change in fortunes after losing their opening five matches in the Western Toolstation League.
Ballard, formerly on the books of Bristol City, is hoping that his troops can cause an upset at high-flying Bradford Town who remain undefeated in their division.
"We've been performing really well in our league but we have missed a lot of chances," he said. "It's nice to have a little distraction away from the pressure of gaining three points.
"I do not know how much research has gone into it but I must be one of - if not the - youngest managers this season. I am only 24.
"I got into the first-team squad at Bristol City then was released before going onto university and have since carried on playing with Bitton and Bristol Manor Farm. It's been a steep learning curve this year," he added.
Monday to Friday, Ballard is a lecturer at college, teaching a sport programme and his squad is often depleted due to work commitments - but not this weekend.
Defender Sam Charman works for the local Waitrose while left-back James Playford is a student at Keele University.
For a part-time squad The Vase is a big opportunity for players to put themselves in the shop window, says Ballard.
"We want our players to move onto better things and hopefully take us with them," he said. "We have a link with Clevedon Town where we are essentially their feeder club and we are trying to do the same with other clubs.
"A good run in The Vase will help them move on, giving them better experience and enable them to play against better opponents.
"It's a shop window for opponents or people who may have a keen eye."
Ballard has played in the competition for the past five years and reached the last 32 while at Bristol Manor Farm and said it would be great to meet them at a later stage, should they get past Bradford on Saturday.
"I'm extremely close with Bristol Manor Farm where I was a player-coach and I would relish the opportunity to meet them.
"I played for Andy Black, the Cadbury Heath manager and it would be good to challenge opposition of that calibre.
"There is not any pressure on us to win on Saturday and the expectancy is on them," he added.
Bradford Town v Portishead Town
- Saturday 7 December 2013
- Brighouse - Whickham
- Walsall W - Wisbech T
- Wednesday 20 November 2013
- Huntingdon T 1-0 AFC Mansfield
- Welwyn GC 3-0 Ely City
- Cray Valley (PM) 2-3 South Park
- Tuesday 19 November 2013
- Spennymoor 7-0 Winsford
- Sunday 17 November 2013
- Causeway 4-1 Dudley Town
- Hadley 1-2 Brantham
- Saturday 16 November 2013
- Whitley Bay 3-0 Runcorn T
- Cleethorpes Town__ 1-6 Morpeth
- Maine Road 2-3 Bill'ham Syn
- Norton U 0-2 Brighouse
- AFC Emley 1-3 Jarr RBCA
- Dunston UTS 2-1 Crook Town
- Staveley MW 2-0 Glossop NE
- West Auck 1-0 Shildon
- Thackley 4-0 Armthorpe
- Ashington 3-1 Worksop Parramore
- Winsford 0-0 Spennymoor
- Whickham 3-0 Parkgate