Preston’s Supporters’ team hope to clinch their first piece of silverware of the season on Friday night, when they take on Heart of Midlothian in the final of the IFA British Cup.
The Club, managed by Steve Cowell and Jimmy Atkinson, have had to overcome major obstacles in reaching the final, with a win on penalties in Round Two against Bury and a quarter final victory away to Millwall both taking their toll on route to the showpiece event.
Atkinson, 23, said: “We've done it the hard way this year, I don’t think anyone gave us a chance when we pulled Millwall out the hat in the quarter finals but we performed magnificently that day and now have the chance to lift the cup for the fifth time on Friday night.
“It’s great that we have the chance to reclaim the cup on home turf, but Hearts pose a real threat to us and we will have to perform on the night, hopefully in front of a few supporters, to lift the trophy."
Kick off for the Supporters’ team’s cup final is 6.30pm on Friday night at UCLAN Sports Arena and spectators are more than welcome to attend.
The cup final is the opener of the 18th WorldNet tournament, which for the first time will be held in Preston. The two-day annual knockout competition marks the end of one IFA season and the start of another.
32 teams are taking part, as sides from abroad prepare to travel behind enemy lines to get involved, including RC Lens from France.
Steve Cowell has played a major part in bringing the tournament to Lancashire, after twelve years over the Pennines in Leeds; he said: “It’s great that we've been able to bring the WorldNet to Preston for the first time.
“We had to fight off a couple of other bids from Manchester and Nottingham but it means everything to bring it to Preston.
“We worked really hard in getting everything organised and it really feels that football is coming home for us guys in the Supporters’ Team.
“Obviously we have a massive history as a footballing City and to bring WorldNet to one of the founder members of the Football League in its 125th year is really special and fingers crossed we will be able to show all these guys from around the country and beyond what Preston is about over the weekend.”
As well as the football and social aspects of the tournament, the competition will work with prominent football organisations who will partner the event.
Kick it Out and The Football Supporters Federation will be getting involved, with the Football Supporters’ Federation bringing their acclaimed Safe Standing Roadshow to exhibit their rail seat model - proving that Safe Standing can happen within British Football.
The tournament is also working with charity partners KitAid, in which teams can donate old kit in support of adults and children thousands of miles’ away who are less fortunate, and also testicular cancer charity The Mark Garry foundation.