FC Halifax Town v Nantwich: Burrow aims to fulfil dream as history beckons for Shaymen

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WEMBLEY has rarely featured on the radar of Halifax Town.

There was one decent run in what was then called the Sherpa Van Trophy that took the Shaymen to within touching distance of a possible trip to the national stadium.

Typically, however, after battling through to the Northern Area semi-final 28 years ago, Halifax contrived to crash out when goalkeeper Paddy Roche fired against the crossbar at Turf Moor in a shoot-out and Burnley edged through en route to an eventual date with Wolverhampton Wanderers that attracted a phenomenal 80,841 fans to Wembley.

Apart from that, Wembley has been somewhere other clubs hope to visit. Until now. FC Halifax, born out of the ruins of the old bankrupt club in 2008, host Nantwich today knowing that history beckons.

Two goals to the good after last weekend’s FA Trophy semi-final first leg, Halifax are odds on to finish the job.

For Jordan Burrow, scorer of two goals in that 4-2 win over Nantwich, reaching the May 22 final would be the fulfilment of a dream.

Not that he is keen to get too far ahead of himself just yet.

“I have been to Wembley a few times as a fan,” the 23-year-old striker told The Yorkshire Post.

“Probably four or five in total, including twice with Chesterfield in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. It is a great stadium. Unbelievable, really.

“But I don’t want to talk too much about Wembley just yet. We have work still to do, definitely. The semi-final is a long way from over.

“We knew before the first leg the threat that Nantwich would carry. You don’t get to the semi-finals of a competition like this unless you are a decent team.

“If we can do the job against Nantwich, then we can talk all we want. But not until then.”

Burrow’s caution is perhaps well advised, certainly in this the most bizarre of seasons at The Shay.

Having joined from Lincoln City last summer, the Sheffield-born striker had been expecting to feature in a push for promotion.

Instead, Halifax spent the first five months of the campaign in the bottom four.

Worse still, they endured a truly horrific time under Darren Kelly that, by the time the Irishman left in mid-November, looked to have condemned Halifax to the drop back into National League North.

Then, though, began a quite remarkable recovery that has seen the Yorkshire club lose just three of 22 games under new manager Jim Harvey.

There is still work to do in the quest for safety, the Shaymen could be back in the bottom four tonight even if, as is hoped, they are celebrating a Wembley trip.

But, crucially, there is a sense of belief among Harvey’s side that they can stay up.

“We have to end the season on a high,” added Burrow.

“The Trophy is great but the league has to be the priority. Tuesday night (when Halifax claimed a creditable draw at Torquay) was a good start but we have to back that up once back in league action over Easter.”

For today, of course, the focus is on Nantwich and booking that first Wembley trip in 105 years for Halifax football.

“The atmosphere against Nantwich is going to be massive,” added the club’s 16-goal top scorer.

“We had 1,100 of our fans at the first leg, which is a huge number.

“Those supporters have been with us all season, travelling all over on cold nights like last Tuesday to places like Torquay, Bromley and Braintree. We want to get to Wembley for them.”