Hometown boy Johnson relishing the chance to cause an FA Trophy upset with Hemel

Jorell Johnson, Hemel Hempstead Town FC. Picture (c) Darren Kelly
Jorell Johnson, Hemel Hempstead Town FC. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

Hemel Hempstead Town centre-back Jorell Johnson is confident that his side can continue their FA Trophy journey against Torquay United tomorrow and knock out the Conference Premier outfit.

The Tudors have already reached the furthest stage of the tournament in their history, and three more victories could see them line-up in a final at Wembley Stadium.

“It’s probably one of the biggest games of our season, apart from the FA Cup game of course,” said Johnson. “It’s a chance for us to get a step closer to playing at Wembley which would be unbelievable.

“You only really get one opportunity to play there in your career and so this is a chance that we really must take.”

Torquay visit Hemel on Saturday and the 19-year-old is hoping to see off another team of superior league status, but knows it won’t be an easy feat.

“We’ve beaten Nuneaton and were very unlucky against Bury – we have the confidence and belief that we can compete against bigger teams and get a positive result,” he said.

“Torquay will be a good side; they’ve been in the football league for many years and although they find themselves currently in the Conference, we know it’s going to be a very tough encounter.

“As a team, we just have to take it like any normal game – we will try and move the ball and hopefully play like we have done in our other cup triumphs this season.”

After early defeats, Vauxhall Road has been turned into a citadel this season including a current unbeaten spell which last saw Dean Brennan’s side lose at home in August, coinciding with a season’s-best undefeated streak in all competitions that currently totals eight games.

Inspiration can be taken from that, along with cup exploits from fellow Conference South side Gosport Borough who reached the final last year before losing 4-0 to Cambridge United.

“It’s kind of gone unnoticed throughout that period that we have made Vauxhall Road a fortress – we believe that we can get three points or a cup win whenever we play at home,” added Johnson.

“If we are on our game I don’t see why we can’t go all the way and win it; we saw last year that Gosport got all the way to the final so there isn’t any reason why we can’t do that.

“We look at their story for motivation and we also know that the funds that come through our success will only help the club on and off the pitch to progress.”

Johnson has enjoyed a successful loan to date, gaining invaluable experience that he can take back to Watford but there’s still a job to do with his hometown club, and a potential date at Wembley beckons.

“It’s been a big learning curve but it’s been very educational,” Johnson said. “Some weeks I’m up against a 6ft tall striker, the next I’m facing a small quick player so the variety is making me a much better player.

“I want to keep playing regularly with Hemel and if we could get some silverware, it would be the perfect end to what’s been a great loan deal.”