Football Non-league notebook: Hill is given his big chance

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IT WORKED for Aston Villa and Leicester City, and now Stevenage Borough are hoping it will work for them.

Both the Premiership clubs turned to Wycombe Wanderers to fill their most recent managerial vacancies, with John Gregory going to Villa Park and, before him, Martin O'Neill taking over at Filbert Street. Both men have done well in the top flight - and Stevenage are hoping that Gregory's former No 2 will take them back to the top of the Football Conference.

The Hertfordshire club have named Richard Hill, who worked under Gregory at Adams Park for 15 months, as the successor to the controversially sacked Paul Fairclough at Broadhall Way.

After being released by Leicester City Hill, now 35, made his name as an attacking midfielder in the non-League game with Nuneaton Borough. He moved on to League football with Northampton Town and later played for Watford and Oxford United.

Workington are enjoying their debut season in the FA Carlsberg Vase. The Cumbrian club have reached tomorrow's fourth-round stage, the last 32, in which they travel down the M6 to tackle the West Midlands side, Oldbury United.

Although they reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup twice in successive years, 1964 and '65, Workington are by no means used to success in FA competitions. The last time they reached the last 32 of an FA tournament was 1933-34, when they lost 2-1 at home to Preston North End in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

In subsequent years just about the only time Workington, who were voted out of the League in 1977, made national headlines in the FA Cup came in 1958, when a Dennis Viollett hat-trick earned Manchester United a 3- 1 win at Borough Park in the Busby Babes' last third-round tie.

Workington have had a dreadful record in the FA Umbro Trophy since their demotion 22 years ago, but now they have been relegated from the UniBond to the North Western Trains League they are competing in the Vase, in which they have already enjoyed better fortunes.

Workington are managed by the former Leeds United full-back, Peter Hampton, while their most famous player is the former Tottenham and Liverpool midfielder, Paul Stewart. If he hits top form tomorrow, another Wembley visit for him - and a first for Workington - may be on the agenda this year.