Ciaron Brown was only playing at Step 5 two years ago, now he’s preparing to take on Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round – and you can find all the odds for the competition here, provided by William Hill.
Championship high-flyers Cardiff City agreed a deal for the promising 20-year-old from the National League South’s Wealdstone earlier this month.
The agreement also includes a visit from the Bluebirds for a pre-season friendly this summer ahead of the new season.
The versatile defender made 66 appearances for the Stones after joining in 2016 from Bedfont Sports, who play in the Combined Counties Premier Division. Brown, standing over six feet tall, is comfortable at either centre-back or left-back.
It is believed that Cardiff beat Sheffield Wednesday to Brown’s signature with other Football League clubs circling for the highly-rated defender.
Brown spent time on trial with Wednesday last summer, under the watchful eye of then manager Carlos Carvahal after impressing the club’s scouts during his first season with Wealdstone.
Long-standing former Stones manager Gordon Bartlett tipped him for success, saying at the time: “We have a great pedigree at Wealdstone of bringing young players on and moving them up to the pro ranks and Ciaron is more than capable of making the step up having made consistent progress.
“I’m sure that he will do well in whatever the future holds and we will never hold a player back”.
Bartlett’s words have since come true and Brown is the first player to leave Grosvenor Vale for the Football League since Tom Pett and Jerome Okimo departed for Stevenage in 2014.
On signing for the Football League club, Wealdstone Manager Bobby Wilkinson said: “I’d like to wish Ciaron a very successful career; it’s a great achievement to become a pro, he’s worked very hard and we will always support him and we will follow his progress with great interest”
Stones Chairman, Peter Marsden, could only back up Wilkinson’s thoughts, adding: “I know that Ciaron has worked extremely hard to fulfil his ambition to be a full time pro footballer and I know all Wealdstone fans will wish him well at Cardiff.
“We look forward to welcoming Ciaron and his new team mates for a pre-season friendly at Grosvenor Vale at the start of next season.”
Warnock’s Cardiff City sit third in the Championship, just two points adrift of the automatic promotion places as they bid to return to the Premier League for the first time since their relegation in 2014. They welcome the top flight’s leaders, Manchester City, who have only lost once in the league.
Unsurprisingly, Cardiff fans are relishing their big cup game on Sunday which kicks off at 4pm – and general admission tickets have sold out with a crowd of over 30,000 expected.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola seems intent on winning as much silverware as possible this season so it is likely all his top stars, such as Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, will be turning out at the Cardiff City Stadium.