(Match photos courtesy of Joseph Gorman Photography)
Two Blues captain and dead ball specialist, Michael Hoganson, is aiming for an FA Vase run this season after seeing off the First Round challenge of Padiham and, this weekend, hopefully neighbours West Auckland.
Hoganson, an experienced defender who began his career with Newcastle United before making a number of Football League appearances with Midlands side, Derby County (he made his Football League debut against Middlesbrough on New Years’ Day 2013 as a late substitute) joined Bishops a few years ago, starring in the clubs run to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round against Stockport County.
Now, in leading the Two Blues, from the back, Hoganson has chipped in with a number of goals this season, and aims to do the same against West Auckland, should the need arise.
Speaking ahead of the Vase encounter, and talking of the season to date Hogey said: “We know the season hasn’t gone how we wanted it to and, with other clubs keeping their core intact, and adding, then we need to progress ourselves.
“There’s been a lot of injuries to players you’d class as being senior players, especially that of AJ (Andrew Johnson), Winny (Chris Winn) and Daz (Darren Richardson).
“We have done OK in spells but it’s not been easy, especially having set the kind of tempo we did last season but, losing the players we did made this season a learning/building one for us; that’s why we know it’s not gone how we wanted it to.”
Preparation for the FA Vase encounter with West Auckland hasn’t really gone according to any plan, a heavy defeat to high-fliers Stockton was followed up on Saturday gone with a narrow reverse to Newton Aycliffe.
Two results Hogey wants putting to bed with immediacy, beginning with a positive outcome against West, whilst implementing some of the positives in which he has seen.
“The game, result against Stockton, I think we needed to happen really,” continued Hogey.
“Things were happening on the field that shouldn’t have been and we really needed to see that; little lapses that were proving costly and they (Stockton) took advantage of those, showing us what we needed to see.
“Losing to (Newton) Aycliffe though, there was a lot of positives in that game and were more dominant, created plenty of chances, and showed how much we are progressing, building, and we need to take that into Saturday.”
To get to the Second Round the Two Blues overcame a tricky encounter on the road at Padiham FC, narrowly edging the game 1-0, a result which saw the club equal their Vase record of previous years.
Hogey also knows that, in manager Ian Chandler, they have someone of experience and know-how in the national competition, he having won the trophy on four occasions, three as manager, in recent years.
“Chan loves the Vase and his record speaks for itself so it’s become a bit of a focus for us,” continued the Bishops defender.
“The Padiham game saw us work together as a team on what was a tough pitch in tough conditions whereas this game, against West, it’s a derby match and probably the biggest game we’ve had since Stockport, and certainly one of the biggest in years.
“Not having a midweek game this week has made things much easier as well but, because it’s a derby, it becomes more of a game you don’t want to lose, at any cost.
“It’s exciting though and it’ll be a massive result as to how our season progresses depending on the outcome.
“We’re all really looking forward to it and I’m sure both Chan (manager Ian Chandler), and Bri (assistant manager Brian Rowe), would lace up their boots and take the field in an instant and, with the atmosphere we’re expecting, I’m sure it will be an amazing day for all involved.”
Michael Hoganson’s home shirt (Two Blues pictured vs Newton Aycliffe) is sponsored by Comtek System Solutions, and his away shirt (All red pictured vs Padiham) by the Bishop Auckland Supporters Club.
Bishop Auckland welcome neighbours West Auckland in the Buildbase FA Vase Second Round on Saturday 2 November, kick-off at 3pm; gates and bar will be open from 1:30pm, admission as follows – Adults £7, Concessions £6, U18s £3, U5s Free.
Car parking available, please arrive early to avoid lengthy queues prior to kick-off.