Wembley is so close you can almost smell it. Not that the new national stadium gives off an unpleasant odour, but it really is only around the corner. Are we there yet? Actually, not far now. The quarter-finals will be held on the weekend of 8th and 9th of March and for all clubs concerned a little matter of two ties away from the final. The excitement amongst the fans of the remaining clubs is palpable.
On a run that has seen me start at Chertsey Town and visit Camberley Town and Cambridge United, I now move onto Cardiff City. Spot another trend? The Ws and the Cs certainly have it so far.
So the Bluebirds will be team number nine for me:
1. Chertsey Town
5. Eastbourne Borough
7. Cambridge United
8. Wolverhampton Wanderers
9. Cardiff City
I have now had more time for the draw to sink in. And I'm still happy with the outcome. The distance to travel is the biggest negative, although Sheffield and Middlesbrough are not exactly the other side of the planet. Chertsey to Sheffield is only 169 miles whilst to Middlesbrough it is 261 miles. Whatever happens a week tonight in the replay between those two teams, I will be spending a good part of the Sixth Round day on the M1.
With the travelling in mind a bit of good news yesterday. All four quarter-final games will be shown live on TV; BBC will cover our game which means that it will move to a 1310 kick-off on Sunday 9th March. In the middle of the day, it will call for an early start but will ensure a reasonable return time. It could have been much worse. The two other BBC games have kick-off times of 1730 (Saturday) and 1800 (Sunday).
Game number fourteen next but I am still to be convinced that I will make it all the way to the final in May. Although as each day, each game and each round passes, I am enjoying this adventure more and more. In the same way that my mouth starts to water whenever I get a whiff of Marmite, the smell of Wembley is having the same effect.