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Supporters urged to fill the RDA Stadium as Bishop’s Stortford host Coalville Town in FA Trophy fifth round

Rallying cries have been issued for fans to pack the RDA Stadium on Saturday (February 10) as Bishop’s Stortford resume their bid to get to Wembley in the Isuzu FA Trophy.

The Blues entertain Coalville Town in the fifth round - the last 16 - with both sides knowing they are three wins away from a place in May’s showpiece final at the national stadium.

Stortford are bottom of Vanarama National League North while their opponents, from Leicestershire, compete at the level below and are 12th in the Pitching In Southern League, Premier Central.

The Blues have won three ties to reach this stage, including knocking out National League sides Ebbsfleet United and Aldershot Town, the former away on penalties and the latter at home in a memorable 6-1 thrashing.

Coalville reached the fifth round by holding National League South side Bath City to a goalless draw away from home before triumphing 4-3 on penalties.

They began in the third qualifying round and have also seen off Royston Town, Alvechurch, Boston United and Walsall Wood.

Ryan Charles celebrates the 6-1 win over Aldershot Town in the last round with Blues supporters. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Ryan Charles celebrates the 6-1 win over Aldershot Town in the last round with Blues supporters. Picture: Gerred Gilronan

But the Ravens could arrive in Hertfordshire without a permanent manager after parting company with Adam Stevens on Monday.

They are 11 points outside the play-offs and player-coach Steve Towers has been placed in temporary charge.

“Saturday is massive for us,” said Blues manager and owner Steve Smith, who saw his side suffer an eighth straight league defeat at the weekend by losing 3-1 at Farsley Celtic. “If we can get through to the quarter-finals then it’s anyone’s game.

“It’s a big game for them as well and a big ticket for whoever gets through. We need a big crowd to get behind us.

“If we get through then it keeps our season going. We need to go at it full throttle.”

The Blues lifted the FA Trophy at Wembley back in 1981, seven years after they also triumphed there in the FA Amateur Cup final.

And Phil Hopkins, the club’s record appearance maker who turned out 507 times between 1983 and 1994, has also called on supporters to be a 12th man for the Blues as they bid to reach the last eight.

“Bishop’s Stortford were two leagues lower when they won at Wembley last time against Sutton and, as we know, on the day anything can happen in cup football,” said Hopkins.

“What we really need is everyone in the town to turn up and cheer the team on. Population of Bishop’s Stortford is 45,000 and we need 6,000 to fill the ground - can you help?

“What a Valentine’s present to bring [your partner] to the football and all the kids. See you there.”

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