WAYNE Goodison has urged fans to say thanks to Paul Stockton by attending one of their favourite team’s biggest matches.

1874 Northwich’s chairman died last week, and will miss this afternoon’s FA Vase encounter with Pontefract Collieries – a game he had hoped to see.

Before he passed away, Stockton initiated talks with Witton Albion to stage the fourth-round tie at their Wincham Park ground.

It will be the first time that 1874, a team set up five years ago by Northwich Victoria supporters fed up at how that club was being run, have played a home game in the town.

“There will be a lot of emotion attached to the occasion,” said the co-manager.

“You can’t get away from that, and we’re aware of what it means to so many people.

“I have been in this position [when I was a player at Chorley], and you’re never sure how you’ll react until it happens.

“Paul was close to the team, and spoke to the players often – it has affected them.

“There’s a role to play for the more experienced ones, and we’ve talked about it as a group.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to progress.

“Paul was thorough in finalising the arrangements to play such an important game in our history at Witton, and thought carefully about it.

“If it was something he felt was right, then that’s good enough for me [and Paul Bowyer].

“He can’t now be at a match he was so looking forward to and I would ask all of our fans, even if it’s just this one time, to come along and get behind club that he was so proud to have helped form.”

On the pitch, an incentive to win is to reach the last 16.

The final is at Wembley in May.

However Goodison insisted that nobody is looking that far ahead just yet.

He added: “We know what the prize is, but it still feels far away.

“We’ve enjoyed success in cup competitions this season, and we’d love to savour some more.

“Pontefract will feel the same and, like us, they’ve not reached this stage of the competition before.

“We’ve watched them more than once, and have made sure that part of our preparation has been done properly.

“However that’s consistent with how we approach every game, and we’ll be careful to make sure that routine stays the same.

“The players shouldn’t notice a difference in that respect; we won’t give them more information or make them think they have to worry more than usual about the opposition.”

Their opponents, currently third in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, eliminated Winsford United – 1874’s landlords – in a previous round.

However, like Northwich, they have been prevented by the weather from playing since the Saturday before Christmas when they lost 2-1 at Garforth.

Kick-off is at 3pm.