NORTHWICH Victoria met a familiar foe when they saw off Histon to progress in the FA Vase earlier this month.

However Sholing, who visit Wincham Park for a quarter-finals encounter on Saturday afternoon, are an opponent they haven’t faced previously.

Steve Wilkes, Vics manager, isn’t the only one who has had to do some homework on the Boatmen.

Here is what supporters of the host club need to know about who is blocking their favourites’ path to the last four:

What league do Sholing play in and how are they getting on?

Sholing are members of the Wessex League’s Premier Division, which is the same level as the North West Counties League’s top-flight.

They occupy first place in the table, and have won all but one of their 23 matches to date.

The other ended in a 1-1 draw.

It is a record that leaves them 13 points clear of second-placed Horndean with two games in hand.

Like Vics, they have played twice since eliminating Sporting Khalsa (3-1) in the last 16 of the FA Vase earlier this month.

A 7-2 victory against Bush Hill was followed by a 4-2 success at Andover New Street last weekend.

How have they reached this stage?

The Southampton-based side have won five matches to secure a quarter-finals place.

Curiously, one of those was against a side with Victoria in their name.

They brushed aside Malmesbury, scoring five times, after squeezing past Torpoint Athletic in the first round.

Sholing were then too good for Pagham (6-2) and Cribs (2-0) before seeing off a Sporting team that had taken the place of Godmanchester Rovers following the Eastern Counties League leaders’ expulsion as punishment for fielding an ineligible player.

That makes this the club’s best run in the competition since they lifted the trophy at Wembley five years ago.

What is the furthest they have gone in the FA Vase?

Sholing are the only one of the remaining eight teams to have won the competition previously.

A 1-0 win against West Auckland Town, who host Chertsey Town this weekend, secured for them victory in the final at the end of the 2013-2014 season.

They had also prevailed by a single goal in three other matches before playing in the showpiece.

Six members of the squad for the club’s famous day at Wembley have been regulars this term too, led by captain Byron Mason.

Marvin McLean, who scored the Boatmen’s decisive goal that afternoon, Pete Castle, Dan Miller, Alex Sawyer and Lee Wort are the others.

And if it’s a draw?

If the rivals cannot be separated inside 120 minutes – a period of extra-time will follow a tie after 90 minutes tomorrow – then a replay will follow next Saturday, March 2, kick-off 3pm.

Sholing host opponents at the Universal Stadium on the outskirts of Southampton – a more than 400-mile round trip from Wincham Park in Northwich.

The ground has covered seating for 120 spectators and space for 100 more in a roofed area reserved for standing.

Who are their best players?

A side that has scored so freely this season inevitably draws attention to their attacking players.

Dan Mason, who is expected to sign for Slough Town in the summer, has 49 goals in 41 appearances to his name this term.

His strike-partner Lee Wort has been on target 38 times.

Skipper Byron Mason, an influential midfielder, will make his 550th appearance for Sholing tomorrow.

Do not be fooled that this is simply an ageing group; promising youngsters Jake Hoole and Bradley Targett have contributed goals to a side manager Dave Diaper is trying to regenerate.