By Jamie Home

COLIN Brookes has seen good times and bad during his 20-year association with Halesowen Town - and currently it’s the former rather than the latter.

The club’s recent history saw them beset by financial difficulties but that would appear - hopefully - to be on the way to being a thing of the past.

So much so that boss John Hill’s players and coaching staff will be travelling to North Yorkshire tonight to face unbeaten Marske United in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round tie instead of making 200-plus mile trip on the day of the game.

The club are also receiving plenty of national media attention after taking over the mantle of Talk Sport’s team to follow after displacing Brocton in the last round.

Brookes, now in his third year as chairman, said: “In recent times we’d have been going on tandems or bikes.

“We’ve had a super season so far following on from how we finished last season. We’re taking more than a hundred supporters with us tomorrow which is great and i’ll be travelling up with them. We’ve even had Colin Murray shouting ‘come on the Yeltz’ on his mid-morning show on the radio station.

“It’s a massive game for us and the club is buzzing at the minute. I’ve seen people’s faces in the crowd recently who I haven’t seen for five or six years and they say they’ll keep coming because they like what we’re doing.

“Crowds are picking up and there is a lot of interest in the club - that’s what an FA Cup run can do for you.

”There has been an awful lot of hard work done to get us where we are now but we still have a way to go yet and there is still a lot more hard work to be done.”

The success currently being enjoyed is in no small part due to the efforts of Hill who celebrated his 50th game in charge in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Market Drayton.

Brookes said: “John has been superb. He’s a local manager picking local players and the fans can associate with that.

“The other night nine of the 11 who started against Market Drayton were playing in lower leagues last season.

“He was with Tipton for 10 years before coming to us and when he took over he couldn’t win in his first five or six games but since then he has done ever so well for us.

“He has really got the players to respond to him and his staff.”

Fourth-placed Halesowen will be at home to Gresley in the Evo-Stik Northern League Division One South on Tuesday unless tomorrow’s game is drawn.