Aldershot Town Manager Kevin Dillon is set for his first taste of Johnstone's Paint Trophy football when the npower League 2 team entertain Oxford United in a Southern Section first round tie on Tuesday evening.
When Dillon took over at the Recreation Ground 10 months ago the Shots were already out of last season's competition, defeated by Hereford United in a second round penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw.
He nevertheless enjoyed a good campaign with his new club, guiding them to the League 2 Play-Offs though then suffering the disappointment of losing to Rotherham United in the two-leg semi-final.
So the former Birmingham City, Portsmouth, Newcastle United and Reading midfielder missed out on taking his team to a Wembley Play-Off Final - but now he has the chance of getting to the national stadium in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Dillon, whose only previous managerial experience was as caretaker at Reading following Alan Pardew's 2003 departure, told football-league.co.uk: "I'm really looking forward to the Oxford match.
"I like the format of this competition, with no replays and with games going straight to penalties if they're drawn after 90 minutes instead of having extra time - I think that can provide more on-the-night excitement for the fans, and I'm all for that.
"We're unbeaten in the League so far this season and that's very pleasing, but Oxford have also made a decent start after their promotion (via the Blue Square Premier Play-Offs) so it should be a really good test for us."
Dillon would love to follow in the footsteps of his former boss Pardew, under whom he was Assistant Manager when Reading were promoted to Championship level in 2002, by winning the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Pardew led Southampton to their Trophy triumph last season, the Saints beating Carlisle United 4-1 in March's Wembley Final, though on Monday he was relieved of his duties at St Mary's Stadium.
Dillon said: "I'm really disappointed for Alan, I felt he'd done a good job at Southampton not just in the Trophy but in League 1 as well. I'm sure he'll quickly get back into work though, and I wish him well for the future.
"It would be lovely to do what he did last year and win the Trophy, but I'm looking no further ahead than Tuesday night and the chance to keep our good run going. A win would be great for morale going into a tough run of League games.
"We overachieved last season with the squad we had, but with the additions we've made over the summer I think we're now stronger. So hopefully we can make another promotion challenge, and it would be great to have a good run in the Trophy as well."
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