Semi-finals can test the nerve of even the most seasoned professional, but help is at hand for Altrincham’s players ahead of their Isuzu FA Trophy last-four tie on Saturday in the form of assistant-manager Neil Sorvel.

‘Sorvs’ has been there and done it in the non-league equivalent of the FA Cup after being an integral cog in a Macclesfield midfield that was too good for Northwich Victoria in the final at Wembley in 1996.

It was an unforgettable day beneath the Twin Towers for Sorvel and his Macc team-mates, but it’s a nerve-shredding semi-final against Chorley that remains the most vivid memory for Alty boss Phil Parkinson’s number two - and one he will call on to help spur the Robins on against FC Halifax Town at The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday.

“Given the prize is a place at the mecca of football, you have to say this is the big one,” he said.

“It’s every player’s dream to step out at Wembley, but you’ve got to clear this hurdle first.

“That’s how I felt at Macc when we faced Chorley in the semi-final.

“It was over two legs back then, and we beat them 3-1 at our place.

“That was a decent lead to take to Victory Park, but they scored midway through the first half, and suddenly they were only one behind and we were hanging on.

“I remember feeling really nervous at half time and worrying we might not be able to hold on.

“We were under the pump and were so nearly pegged back late on when a lob over the keeper was going in until one of our lads sprinted back and somehow managed to head it clear from under the bar.

“It could have gone either way, but I managed to tuck one away five minutes from time to get us over the line.

“We all went mad, and I ended up running straight into the crowd!

“That’s how big semi-finals are, and our approach must be spot-on on Saturday.”