HIGHWORTH Town may have exited the FA Vase back in October, but the national competition could still have a major bearing on their ambitions for the current campaign.

Last Saturday’s victory over Fairford lifted the Worthians back to the top of the Hellenic League Premier Division table with nine games to go.

The two teams also involved in what appears to be a three-horse race, Thatcham and Bracknell, have Vase quarter-final ties to look forward to this month – as do tomorrow’s mid-table hosts Windsor.

Although mindful that his team must replicate the sort of form that saw them open up a huge advantage at the summit earlier in the season regardless of what happens elsewhere, Highworth boss Jeff Roberts is hoping the lure of a possible trip to Wembley will sidetrack their rivals.

“If you look at Windsor and where they are in the league then their priority is possibly the FA Vase,” said Roberts.

“At our level, the chance to go to play at Wembley is every player’s dream and the longer you stay in it then the more focus is on that.

“But whatever happens it is still in our own hands as we have the sides around us still to play and we just need to keep winning.

“There are nine games left and we’ll take them one at a time – it doesn’t matter if the wins we need are gritty or achieved through nice football.”

Highworth, who fielded a largely second-string side in Wednesday’s 2-1 Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup third-round defeat at home to their local rivals Royal Wootton Bassett, will be without Ash Edenborough for tomorrow’s potentially-tricky trip to Windsor as he starts a three-match suspension.

Nick Stanley is available again after the birth of his baby, while Lewis Waldon – the cousin of new signing Conor – is set for his debut after making the switch from Bassett.

“Lewis can play wide or up top and has looked lively when we’ve played Bassett,” said Roberts.

“He knows where the net is and wants to play as high as he can and hopefully having a few experienced heads around him will help him do that.”

Highworth will also be looking for Fairford to do them a favour tomorrow, with Jody Bevan’s team hosting a Bracknell side 17 points worse off than the pace-setters but with five games in hand.

Shrivenham will return to second spot in Division One West if they win their home game against Shortwood United Reserves.