Wood boss Bob Makin sat in his office at Dagenham Motors' Stevenage dealership, no more than a decent Martin Taylor goalkick away from Broadhall Way, scene the day before of Stevenage Borough's wonderful FA Cup heroics in drawing with mighty Newcastle United.

One of his former Wood charges, Gary Crawshaw, who spent a couple of months on loan at Meadow Park in early 1995, was one of the headline makers and maybe Makin could afford himself a rueful thought or two of what might have been.

But was he envious of Paul Fairclough's team?

"Of course I am!" he said. "It was a dream result for Stevenage and they did exceptionally well. It's those sort of occasions that we're all in football for."

Shortly after taking over at Wood in 1993, Makin stated his ambitions as winning a championship and leading the team out at Wembley.

The Division One title came his way two and a half years ago, and the Premier Division remains a distinct possibility still, but on Saturday he takes another step towards the second of those ambitions as he takes his men to County Durham to face one of the great names of football's past, Bishop Auckland, in the 2nd round of the FA Umbro Trophy.

Formed by theological students from Oxford and Cambridge Universities in 1886, the club's colours of light and dark blue halves reflect those origins.

Bishop Auckland were founder members of the Northern League in 1889, and won the championship a staggering 18 times, but it is with the FA Amateur Cup that they are indelibly linked.

In the FA Cup, Bishop Auckland have clashed with the likes of Preston, Burnley, Wolves and Sheffield United, their best ever run seeing them defeated in the fourth round in 1955 by York City after knocking out Crystal Palace and Ipswich.

Great players of the past include Liverpool legend Bob Paisley, and their current side has struggled to live up to such glittering ancestors.

However, under manager Tony Lee, Bishops finished runners-up in the Unibond Premier League last term, and were beaten 3-4 at Gloucester in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.

A major factor in these achievements was the goalscoring partnership of Nick Peverell and Lee Ellison,

Indeed, Peverell was the Unibond's highest scorer last season with 28, notching 40 goals in all competitions.

Bolstered from the back by long serving skipper David Lobb, the Bishops are currently placed third in their league, after three successive defeats.

Makin watched their recent reverse at Boston, remarking: "They play a controlled, even paced game, with the emphasis on passing and they're good at knocking the ball around."

But he warned: "They also have a typically strong Northern approach and they will undoubtedly play differently against us than we've seen in the games we've watched."

Assistant manager Alan Carrington saw their 2-4 home loss to Marine at the weekend, viewed by an above average crowd of 233.

Bishops share a common problem with Wood -- that of modest support -- and this term they are averaging only 211 in all competitions (Wood's, for the record, stands currently at 341).

Bishops antiquated Kingsway ground, from which they are moving at the end of this season, is certainly the place to go for goals, and Wood will have noted their recent 9-1 county cup victory over Peterlee.

The Wood party will be travelling North by train on Friday evening with injury doubts over Rob Hollingdale (shin) and Alan McCarthy (dead leg).

One player definitely out is Jason Shaw, whose stomach muscle injury has been diagnosed as Gilmore's groin, and it will require an operation to correct.

It looks likely that Tony Joyce is leaving Meadow Park. The popular fullback is deciding between Bishops Stortford and St Albans in his quest for a first team berth.

However, defender Barry Fox has now re-signed for Wood.

If no replay is needed with Bishop Auckland, Wood will be at home next Tuesday evening to Baldock Town as they bid to reach their second successive Herts Senior Cup Final (kick-off 7.30pm).

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