Abel back on duty at Wembley

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The Independent Online
Macclesfield Town may be the bookies' favourites to win the FA Umbro Trophy final at Wembley tomorrow but their opponents, Northwich Victoria, have experience on their side as they try to cause an upset.

The Vics will be appearing in their third Trophy final - they won in 1984 having lost at Wembley the previous year - and one of their players, the central defender Graham Abel, turned out in both those finals. Now 35, Abel returned to the Drill Field club in 1994 after eight seasons with Chester, and will be at the heart of the Vics' back line tomorrow.

Up front for Northwich will be the 31-year-old Delwyn Humphreys, who played in Trophy finals for Kidderminster Harriers in 1991 and last year, when Woking beat the Worcestershire club. Humphreys is an England semi- professional international - as is Macclesfield's most experienced player, Paul Cavell. The 33-year-old striker is, however, likely to start the game on the substitutes' bench.

Macclesfield's manager, Sammy McIlroy, has played at Wembley for both Manchester United and Northern Ireland. Brian Kettle, McIlroy's counterpart at his former club, Northwich, began his playing career at Liverpool.

Unlike the two Cheshire clubs, both sides in tomorrow's Welsh Cup final at Cardiff Arms Park will be playing European football next season. The favourites, Barry Town, will compete in the Uefa Cup as League of Wales winners so, whatever the result, the Powys village side, Llansantffraid, will be in the Cup-Winners' Cup.

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