WHILE a place in the FA Vase semi-finals is a first for Steve Wilkes as a manager, his team’s destination for the second leg next month isn’t new to him.

He was part of a Bamber Bridge side that prevailed 1-0 at Chertsey Town in a last-eight encounter in 1992.

“They were favourites to win that day too!” he quipped, referring to bookies making the Combined Counties League side as most likely to win this season’s edition.

“What are the chances, in a competition with more than 630-odd entries, of being drawn against a side down south I’ve played against?”

Northwich Victoria, conquerors of Sholing after extra-time on Saturday, were paired with the Surrey outfit in a draw for the semi-finals on Monday afternoon.

They will host Chertsey at Wincham Park on Saturday, March 16 before hitting the road for the return seven days later.

Wilkes told the Guardian that convincing his players they need not be distracted by the dynamics of a tie played over two legs will be something new to contend with.

He said: “It’s a format that is a bit alien at our level.

“It’s a funny one I suppose; you’re unlikely to win the tie inside the first 90 minutes but it is possible to lose it.

“For me, it’s about avoiding calculations – certainly before the first game, anyway – and trusting the approach that has got us into this position.”

Attention will turn next to studying Chertsey, who ended the run of West Auckland Town last weekend.

They eliminated Irlam, rivals for Northwich in the North West Counties League’s Premier Division, at the previous stage.

Wilkes added: “We’ll do our homework and we’ll leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting as much information as we possibly can about them.

“It should go without saying that anybody who reaches this stage of a national knockout is going to be a very good side and I expect Chertsey to be no different in that respect.”