HE’S right in the firing line and facing one of the toughest tasks in the FA Cup this weekend but Rotherham-born goalkeeper Jonathon Hedge can’t wait for the big day tomorrow.
Jonathon is last line of defence for Tamworth, the Blue Square Bet Premier club who travel to Goodison Park, to face Premier League Everton.
“Everybody was absolutely delighted with a draw like that as you’d expect,” said Jonathon.
“It has seemed such a long time since then but we’ve been busy with matches over the holiday period and can now concentrate on this game and the place is really buzzing as you’d expect.”
It will also offer Jonathon the chance to showcase his talents and provide a possible route into league football, something that remains an ambition.
He is regarded as one of the country’s best outside the Football League and is in England’s C squad, effectively the England Non-League squad, which will be competing in the International Challenge Trophy next month.
The 23-year-old travels every day for training to Tamworth from his home in Bramley near Rotherham.
Spotted playing for top junior side Rawmarsh St Joseph’s, he went on Rotherham United’s books as a youngster but was among those released during the club’s difficult financial times in administration.
He played for 18 months at Halifax, when Chris Wilder was in charge, and then went out to Australia and enjoyed life out in Brisbane. He came back here and joined Harrogate Town before Halifax, with Neil Aspin, then in charge, took him on again.
This time he was first choice and helped them to promotion. His displays had been noted and of last summer’s offers he took Tamworth’s.
“I’ve not written off getting into the league and, hopefully, a game like this will put me in the shop window,” he says.
As a big Sheffield United fan, the first name he will look for on the Everton team sheet will be Phil Jagielka, a favourite of his when he was at Bramall Lane.
Jonathon, who helps coach Centre of Excellence goalkeepers at Rotherham United, has started his own goalkeeping school, SAS as in Save All Shots, which he runs at Wath Comprehensive on Monday evenings for lads aged seven to 16 and wants to expand it.
Tomorrow, he will be aiming to save-all-shots from the Premier League big shots and doesn’t doubt there may be plenty of them but insists he will go out to enjoy the biggest game of his career.