MANAGER Alan Lay insists a return to FA Vase action represents “more than just a cup tie” to Swanage Town & Herston.

Having taken the reins at Day’s Park 12 months ago, Lay has steadily built a competitive squad of locally-based players which recovered from a rocky start to finish seventh in the Dorset Premier League.

And with the bulk of his charges residing in or around the Swanage area, Lay believes his club’s clash with Wessex One outfit Downton in the national competition on September 6 will be a meaningful occasion for everyone involved.

Lay told the Daily Echo: “Ultimately, we weren’t concerned with who we got, we were just thrilled to be in the hat and as an unknown quantity, we wouldn’t mind one bit if our opponents came here with a bit of complacency.

“We are excited, this is a big deal for us and the players are bang up for it. A lot of people are talking about it already which I don’t mind too much as long we stay grounded and concentrate on making a good start in the league.

“From the start, I wanted to make Swanage a club for the town’s footballers. We have a good nucleus from last season which we hope to build on by encouraging our youth and reserve players to step up to the mark.

“With that mentality and togetherness, we hope to do the whole town proud in the FA Vase.”

One young rookie set to make the grade is 19-year-old reserve midfielder Brandon Ritchie after signing first-team forms last week.

Lay added: “We have got really lucky with Brandon. He is quite cultured and while we need to strengthen him up a bit, he is a real prospect and exactly the type of player that makes our work here so rewarding.”