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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 11:27 GMT
Hippolyte eyes 'serious history'
By John Sinnott

Johnson Hippolyte
Live on BBC1, 1335 GMT
Six leagues separate Yeading from Premiership Newcastle but their manager Johnson "Drax" Hippolyte is confident the non-League side can bridge the gap.

Ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third round tie, Johnson told BBC Sport: "It's a game where we can make serious history, maybe one of the biggest upsets ever.

"Not wanting to be overconfident, but if they play the team they did against Sporting Lisbon we'll have a chance.

"But they've had injuries and I'm sure they will have a lot of players back."

Hippolyte's scouting mission up to Newcastle to watch that Uefa Cup game against Sporting Lisbon brought home to him the magnitude of Yeading's draw.

"It's massive, particularly the fact it's on television. Everywhere I go people are recognising me, even when I went up to Newcastle, people recognised me."

It could financially secure the club for the next 10 to 15 years
Johnson Hippolyte

Sunday's game at Loftus Road will be Yeading's seventh FA Cup tie this season.

As well as their cup success, Johnson's side are also running away with the Ryman Premier League in their bid to win promotion to the Conference South.

Since taking over as manager in 2001, Johnson, whose full-time job involves making marble kitchen worktops, has slowly turned Yeading's fortunes around.

After saving them from relegation in 2001, Yeading beat Canvey Island to win the Bryco Cup in 2003 and last year Johnson's side won the Ryman League Division One North.

As well as that steady improvement in form, Johnson points to a talented young squad as the reason why he believes Yeading will not be overawed by Newcastle on Sunday.

"We've had a consistency of players at the club. After we won the league last year we only brought in three players.

"The team now know what we want. It's taken a while as to how hard we want them to work, but now the penny has dropped.

"They're a talented bunch of players. They've been in the professional game as scholars and apprentices and now they're on the way back up.

"Dudley 'DJ' Campbell, Alex Stanley, Bradley Quamina and Marc Leach are all good enough to play in League Two."

But it is striker Campbell that has really caught the eye during Yeading's Cup run.

Campbell began life with Aston Villa, but slipped down the divisions, arriving at Yeading in February 2003 after a spell at Stevenage.

Yeading striker Dudley
Campbell has hit a rich vein of form under Hippolyte

Last season he won the Isthmian First Division Golden Boot after scoring 36 goals and is already close to the 30-goal mark for the current campaign.

"I've played against Les Ferdinand and with Charlie Ottway at Brighton as well as Andy Impey. DJ has more God given talent than any of them," said Johnson

"He just wasn't mentally strong enough when he had the chance earlier with Aston Villa and QPR.

"When he went to Stevenage it also went a bit pear-shaped.

"He scored six goals in eight games, but then he had a dry spell, and rather than putting an arm round him, they sent him out on loan.

"He called me saying that if I didn't sign him he was going to quit football.

"Now he's older and wiser and a league side should take a chance on him, because I don't think they would go far wrong, though hopefully it will be at the end of the season.

"He's playing again with a smile on his face. He deserves another chance."

Win, lose or draw against Newcastle, Sunday's game will safeguard Yeading's future for the foreseeable future.

"It could financially secure the club for the next 10 to 15 years," said Hippolyte.

"We need some new floodlights and also to build a new stand behind one of the goals to allow us to play in the Conference South.

"If we couldn't go up because of the ground that would be very disappointing."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Yeading forward Dudley 'DJ' Campbell


Interview: Newcastle boss Graeme Souness


Interview: Yeading manager Johnson Hippolyte



SEE ALSO
FA Cup on the BBC
15 Dec 04 |  FA Cup



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