Tomi Ameobi aiming to step out of brother's shadow by becoming FA Cup hero
Published 05:00 02/01/10 By Mike Walters
Tomi Ameobi will have the perfect stage to step out of his brother’s shadow tomorrow - by dumping Sven Goran Eriksson out of the Cup.
While his big brother Shola makes the longest trek in English football, from Newcastle to Plymouth, this weekend, Forest Green Rovers striker Ameobi will be let loose on Sven’s Notts County at Meadow Lane.
And Ameobi, whose first name in full is Oluwatomiwo, is relishing the chance to make a name for himself at the only club in senior football never to have been relegated (apart from the reconstituted AFC Wimbledon).
Ameobi had done the rounds at Leeds, Scunthorpe, Doncaster and Grimsby, without being able to call any of them home, before starmaker David Hockaday - the man who set up the country’s first college academy at Cirencester, a model copied by all the big clubs - brought him to the Cotswolds in September.
He said: “Shola has always been a big influence for me and I’m glad I’ve got him there. But I’m trying to make a name for myself and, when anyone mentions my brother, I try to show them we are two different people.
“Although I am a target man, and my job is to bring other people into the game, I like to think there is more to my game than being a battering-ram centre forward.
“You don’t get anything in football without working hard for it - that has been instilled in me. But I would love the chance to play against Shola.”
Hockaday, whose conveyor belt of talent in seven seasons on the coaching staff at Watford included England winger Ashley Young, said: “Tomi is a talent who needs to put down some roots for a while to develop his game.
“My history as a coach has been all about producing young players and bringing the best out of them - and Tomi is one of my new projects. Like a lot of youngsters, he may just need people to believe in him because the raw materials are there.
“We’re going to work hard with him and see if we can uncork some of that potential in the belief he will flourish at this level. Shola was a late developer and we think Tomi could follow suit.”
Forest Green is the club satnavs fear. Perched on the outskirts of Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, they reached the third round last season and led Derby 3-2 with 15 minutes to go before going down 4-3.
They were anchored to the Blue Square Conference basement, needing snookers to survive, when Hockaday took over four months ago, but he presided over a revival of six games unbeaten for starters to put them back in touch with the dotted line.
Now he has former England coach Eriksson in his sights and Rovers, one of four surviving non-League clubs left in the Cup, have the best chance on paper of making tomorrow’s fourth round draw.
Hockaday said: “Sven may be a focal point for obvious reasons, but Dave Kevan is the manager in charge at Notts County now and he will be as keen to win the game as I am.
“If you look beyond the personalities, it would be a feather in our caps if we could knock a team from a higher division out of the Cup and we have nothing to lose.
“Certain clubs enjoy a culture of Cup shocks, and in recent seasons Forest Green have developed a pedigree in this competition which I would like to maintain if we can.
“We made it to the third round for the first time in the club’s history last season, but we’ve never been to the fourth round and that’s a challenge we’re all relishing.”.