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Boot up the boombox. Chorley of the National League North have become renowned for belting out Adele in cramped dressing rooms since sending Wigan, Peterborough and then Derby’s kids packing in the Cup. Wolves may be 111 places above the sixth-tier side but the part-timers have their eyes trained on another upset. Chorley memorably beat Wolves in the first round of this competition 35 years ago and, better still, Wolves lost their last Cup meeting with non-league opponents, Luton, in 2013, a result that cost Stale Solbakken his job.
To Lancashire, then, where headteacher-cum-manager Jamie Vermiglio, whose party trick is a credible Donald Duck impression, has been rallying the troops for their biggest upset to date. “I’ve always been able to do the voice as a kid and when you go into teaching you look to have little tricks up your sleeve to get the kids on side,” Vermiglio said.
For Wolves, awkward Cup competitions mean two things: a rare outing for John Ruddy, who was superb en route to promotion three years ago, and pre-match gripes about the playing surface at Victory Park. The now infamous Chorley groundsman Ben Kay, who slept on the pitch the night before their third-round win over Derby’s youngsters to ensure the game went ahead – and boiled kettles of water to pour on to the boggy ground – has again been working overtime.
“We’re going to find a pitch that is not in the best conditions,” said Nuno Espirito Santo. “We already had photos taken of the pitch and we know that the FA have made an effort to try and preserve the pitch by covering. We have to adapt to it.”