FA Trophy: Welling's Kiernan Hughes-Mason says drawing former club Grimsby Town was 'wish come true'
"AFTER we beat Woking I was asked who I wanted in the next round – I said Grimsby Town and my wish came true!"
That's Kiernan Hughes-Mason's view as he prepares to face the Mariners just eight months after he left the club.
The pacey frontman will line up for Blue Square South Welling United tomorrow when his former club visit Park View Road in the Third Round of the FA Trophy.
And after playing for Town in the second half of last season, the 21-year-old admits it will be a special day for him.
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"I had a brilliant six months at Grimsby and was obviously disappointed to be released," he told the Telegraph. "But I still speak to a few of the boys there, especially Brad Wood, and always look out for their results to see how they're getting on – I'm so chuffed they're doing well.
"The memory that sticks out from my time there is the game at Luton when I came off the bench to the score the equaliser.
"That was definitely my proudest moment while I was a Town player.
"After we beat Woking I was asked who I wanted in the next round – I said Grimsby Town and my wish came true!
"It should be a cracking game. I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully we can get the win.
"It would be nice to prove a point to the Town gaffers, but the only thing that really matters is proving a point to myself and when I play well I'm happy. There should be a decent crowd there tomorrow and Town will bring quite a few down as well, as they always do. Their fans are big travellers, so it will be a lively atmosphere."
Hughes-Mason is determined to get one over on the Mariners, although he admits that a replay back in Cleethorpes would be enjoyable on a personal level.
"Some of the lads here have said they really don't want to go up there for a replay on a Tuesday night because it's a long way to go," he added.
"But if we were to draw tomorrow it would really mean a lot to me because while I was there the fans were great to me.
"Playing at Blundell Park again would be something I would love to do. Although I wouldn't be in a Town shirt, to play at that stadium again would be massive for me personally.
"That could happen next season if we get promoted, but the way Town are playing they won't be in the Conference anyway."
The Wings have risen to second in the Conference South after a stunning run of victories in league and cup since mid-November.
That streak has encompassed impressive Trophy triumphs over both Newport County and Woking. So could another 'giant-killing' be on the cards?
Hughes-Mason said "Grimsby are obviously a big team in a league that they shouldn't be in, so it's great that they're up near the top. I want them to go up. I thought last year we were a bit unlucky at times but this year they've hit the ground running.
"I'd love them to keep that up and, come the end of the season, win the league.
"You could say that we couldn't have had a much tougher draw, but at the same time we've won ten on the bounce so it's not an easy one for them either.
"Promotion has been the aim for us since the start of the season. When I first signed, the gaffer said he wanted us to win the league or be around the play-offs. We've started off really well, so we're aiming to continue that and go up.
"We're on a great run, we're full of confidence and we've got nothing to lose."
The former Millwall trainee admits to having a slightly 'iffy' start to life in Kent after signing for Jamie Day's men. But since then, Hughes-Mason has found his feet, scoring nine goals as part of Welling's promotion charge.
"It always takes time to get used to a new team but I've settled in now and my recent performances have shown that," he explained.
"I've tried to give the gaffer here some background information on Grimsby, but they've signed quite a few new players since I left. With the ones that I know, I've given him a heads-up about their qualities. You never know, that might give us an edge tomorrow."