Former Everton man Arlen Birch hoping for more giant killing success with Chorley

Arlen Birch is hoping his Chorley side can cause the shock of the FA Cup second round when they travel to Peterborough United on Saturday – and he believes a good cup run could help him in his quest to return to full time football.

The 24-year-old from Ellesmere has been an integral part of The Magpies run to the second round, and was part of the side that dumped out former winners Wigan Athletic in the last round.

The former Everton and Burnley full back, who represented England a youth level signed for Chorley in the summer.

It was his second season away from the full time game, but the youngster still has ambitions to return to professional football one day.

And he believes a good FA Cup run will aid the club as well as possibly helping his future prospects.

He explained: “It is massive for us and massive for the club.

“It is a great draw for us, and we have not gone about it the easy way in getting to this stage.

“We’ve had tough qualifying games against sides at the top of our league and then obviously we went and beat Wigan in the last round.

“It has been unreal for us, but the only thing that was missing from that game against Wigan was the fans.

“We would have had a couple of thousand up there at Wigan and it would have been fantastic for us.

“For me it is up there for big moments in my career. I played in front of 43,000 at Wembley, but that was special.

“To be 2-0 down at half time and come back in the manner than we did was brilliant.

“I’d like to think I could go and play at a professional level again and this certainly helps. Since dropping out I’ve had to go away and look at other things and improve my game, which I believe I’ve done now.”

Cup heroics aside Chorley are just outside of the National League North relegation zone after a wretched start to the season has seen them pick up just five points from seven games.

But the defender insists the table doesn’t do their performances justice and many people have said they are in a false position.

He added: “A few things have gone against us but we have done well, and a lot of other managers have said we’re in a false position.

“We won at Telford recently and we are just looking to keep building a bit of momentum now going forward.”

Birch in action for AFC Telford United against Boston United last season – Mike Sheridan/Ultrapress

For Birch, the last few years have been a change to the football norm he had become so accustom too.

He spent years in the Everton academy up to the age of 18, before signing for Burnley in 2015 and becoming part of their under 23 set up.

After three years at Turf Moor he joined AFC Fylde where he enjoyed a Wembley success in the FA Trophy.

Then he dropped out of full time football for the first time in his career, joining AFC Telford United before signing for Chorley in the summer.

The full back has admitted he found it tough coming out of the full time game – with the most difficult thing being finding a job.

He’s adapted to it now but still has ambitions of a return to professional football.

He added: “It is difficult. First of all because you have to go and find a job.

“All you’ve known is football and then you go part time and you probably could scrape by on your wage, but you need something to fill the gaps.

“You’re only training twice a week, so you need to go and find a job really.

“I’m doing coaching and PE lessons in schools between playing now, and I’ve got used to it now.

“But as I say I think I can go back to that level hopefully one day.”

Lead picture – Arlen Birch Twitter

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