SKIPPER Lee Clarke will be one to watch for Welling United when they try to cause a FA Cup second round upset against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park on Saturday.
The 30-year-old central midfielder has been on target for the Wings in both of their ties in the competition this season.
Clarke has a goalscoring pedigree, as his father, Colin, was a Northern Ireland international striker and played for clubs such as Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth.
Welling were drawn away to Western League Premier Division part-timers Brislington in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round at the end of October.
Although four divisions below the Wings in the football pyramid, Brislington pushed Welling all the way.
It took a 68th minute header from Clarke to secure a 1-0 victory for the visitors, who were then drawn at home to Football Conference Premier rivals Luton Town in the first round proper.
Luton had reached the FA Cup fifth round last season, beating Premier League club Norwich City in the process.
However, Welling defeated Luton 2-1 at Park View Road on November 9, with Clarke and midfielder Joe Healy getting their goals.
Clarke, who was capped by Northern Ireland at under-21 level, started his career at Peterborough United, for whom he made three first team appearances – all as a substitute.
He had a successful spell at St Albans City before signing for Welling in the summer of 2009.
Welling are based in the London Borough of Bexley, only six miles away from Championship club Charlton Athletic.
The Wings won the Conference South title last season with 26 wins and 90 goals in their 42 games and finished four points clear of runners-up Salisbury City.
It secured their return to the fifth tier of English football for the first time since 2000 and they have made a more than respectable start to this term.
Welling are 13th in the Conference Premier table with a record of eight wins, five draws and seven defeats.
They are three positions and the same number of points above Lincoln City, who Argyle beat 5-0 in a FA Cup first round replay at Home Park last month after drawing 0-0 at Sincil Bank.
Welling’s top scorer in the Conference Premier is striker Ross Lafayette, who has netted seven times in 16 starts and one substitute appearance.
Lafayette, 26, was signed from Isthmian League Premier Division club Wealdstone in the summer and has settled well at Park View Road.
Clarke is the second top scorer with five goals in the Conference Premier, followed by Alex Dyer on four.
Dyer, 24, is a Montserrat international and former Northampton Town midfielder who was snapped up by Welling, also from Wealdstone, after their title success last season.
He made 43 appearances for Northampton before being released at the end of the 2009/10 campaign.
Welling have three players who have started each of their Conference Premier games this term, including goalkeeper Lee Butcher.
The 25-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur youth graduate spent three seasons with Leyton Orient and played 38 times for them before leaving the east London club in the summer and signing for the Wings.
The other two ever presents for Welling are former AFC Wimbledon defender Fraser Franks and Healy.
The Wings’ player-manager is 34-year-old Jamie Day, who started his career as a midfielder in the youth set-up at Arsenal.
He has made two appearances in the Conference Premier this season, scoring one of the goals in a 3-2 away win against Braintree in October.
Welling’s squad has two players with connections to Argyle’s Devon rivals Exeter City.
Defender Doug Bergqvist, 20, signed for Exeter in the summer and was then loaned to Welling for this season.
Defender Jack Obersteller, 25, spent the 2008/09 season with City, making three starts and four substitute appearances in League Two, before moving to Grays that summer.
Welling should have had a long-distance away game against Grimsby Town in the Conference Premier on Tuesday.
However, they were spared the midweek trip to north Lincolnshire – at least for now – because Grimsby had a FA Trophy first round replay at home to Coalville Town.
Day rested several key players when Welling lost 3-0 away to Braintree in their FA Trophy last Saturday, with the FA Cup clash against Argyle in mind.
The Wings have only reached the FA Cup third round on one previous occasion.
That was in January 1989, when they were beaten 1-0 at home by Blackburn Rovers, after victories over Bromsgrove Rovers and Bath City in the previous two rounds.