Lincoln City assistant Nicky Cowley will seek out fellow ex-Hornchurch players Stefan Payne and Omar Beckles after full time at Wembley
PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 April 2018
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Four people with links to Hornchurch will do battle this weekend at the national stadium in the final of the English Football League Trophy
At least two ex-Hornchurch players will get their hands on the English Football League Trophy on Sunday at Wembley when Shrewsbury Town and Lincoln City go head-to-head, but regardless of the result, Nicky Cowley will seek out Omar Beckles and Stefan Payne come full time.
Cowley, the assistant boss at the Imps to brother Danny, played for the Urchins along with his sibling during their treble-winning 2005/06 season in the Essex Senior League.
Since leaving Bridge Avenue after that campaign, the Havering brothers have enjoyed huge success and gone on to lead Lincoln back to the Football League.
On Sunday, they will walk out at Wembley for the EFL Trophy final and in the opposition team will be two other ex-Urchins.
Payne enjoyed a fine season with Hornchurch in 2013/14 and scored over 30 times in the Ryman Premier before leaving for Dover Athletic and eventually ending up at Shrewsbury.
He was joined at New Meadow by another player with links to Urchins last summer, as Beckles, who spent time at Bridge Avenue in 2014, signed up from Accrington Stanley.
Only two of them can walk away with winners’ medals at Wembley, but Nicky will make sure to seek out the two Shrewsbury players after the final whistle.
“Stefan and Omar have done fantastically well and they are playing for a football club near the top of League One and aspiring to be in the Championship and it is very likely they will achieve that,” said Imps assistant Cowley.
“We have faced Stefan and Omar a number of times and we would have first come across Stefan at Hornchurch and he was so effective at that level.
“He then moved to Dover and we faced him there when we were at Braintree Town and Omar has done ever so well too.
“We would have pitted our wits against Omar when he was at St Albans City and Danny and I were Concord Rangers managers. I remember playing against him once in an FA Cup fourth qualifying round game and we managed to beat St Albans, but it was such a tough game.
“Then he moved onto Aldershot Town and also did very well in the National League and we faced him while we were at Braintree, so it is fantastic to see them both succeeding in the Football League.
“Whenever the full time whistle goes, I always tend to go and shake hands with the opposition manager, but then as soon as I get on the pitch, I look for the players who have progressed from non-league and are now in the professional game.
“I make sure I shake their hands first because I really admire those boys. They have found themselves in non-league having not achieved professional football status earlier in their careers, but they have fought their way back.
“I always feel that shows a real level of determination and resilience and they are traits I admire in people.”