Former Chelsea FA Cup hero stars for non-league side

Hendon centre-back Frank Sinclair still has the hunger for success

Under the glow of the new Wembley Stadium, former cup final hero Frank Sinclair recalls his past achievements and admits he still has a taste for winning silverware.

In a professional career which spanned 21 years, Sinclair won the 1997 FA Cup and 1998 League Cup with the Blues and the 2000 League Cup with Leicester City at the old Wembley.

Now 39, Sinclair is plying his trade with non-league Hendon at Vale Farm, just a couple of miles down the road from the scene of his greatest moments.

Sinclair joined Gary McCann’s side as a favour for Dons coach Junior Lewis, whom he met in his days with Leicester. With Hendon targeting promotion, it is a chance for Sinclair to continue playing the game he loves, a chance which he believes can end in silverware.

“I’ve known Junior and Gary a very long time, I played with Gary at district level at school,” Sinclair told the Times. “I got a call from Junior about three or four weeks ago asking if I’d come down and help them out, so I said I’d play here for a couple of months and we’d take it from there.

“We’ll see how the games go and discuss it as we go along, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t challenge for promotion. Hopefully we can crack on up the league and I can stay for a bit longer.

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“I only finished playing at Wrexham at the end of last season, but to be honest you miss football when you’re not playing, and you try to play as long as you can give something back to the game.

“I’m pleased for Gary. He’s got a tough job here on limited resources, scrapping for players. With the budget he’s got, he does a great job of keeping the team as high up in the league as he can.”

Having racked up more than 400 appearances for the likes of Huddersfield, Burnley, Lincoln City and Wycombe Wanderers, Sinclair’s vast experience in the Hendon back line will be a big factor this season.

The Dons continue their quest for promotion on Saturday with a home match against Aveley.

With plenty of teams in contention for the play-off spots it promises to be a tough fight to finish at the top end of the table, and Sinclair believes he is well-prepared for the battle.

“I’m here to help the players, there are a lot of youngsters out there who need encouragement off the pitch, and to see how things are done by a player who has played at a higher level,” he added.

“I’m trying to be an influence to them, my fitness isn’t great because I haven’t had a game since the play-offs last season, but that will get better over the next three weeks or so.

“The older you get, you have to accept that you have to play a little bit lower because the standard of the top teams is getting better and better each year.

“But at the same time I’m still playing against players who are going to give me a test, I’m still enjoying that side of the game.”

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