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Rugby Union: Blakeman proud to keep family tradition.

Byline: BY DAVID BASSETT

THE low point in Liam Blakeman's football career seems a million miles away today as he prepares to help Burscough attempt to achieve even more FA Cup glory.

Blakeman's football world crashed around him three years ago when he was released by Blackburn Rovers after earlier playing for the Ewood Park club in the 2001 FA Youth Cup final against Arsenal.

But the 23-year-old midfielder is now just 90 minutes away from a possible crack at one of the Premiership giants as his home-town club travel to Nationwide Conference side Burton Albion in today's second round.

"It was a huge blow at the time when I was released by Blackburn, and I was at a real low," said Blakeman. He is continuing a remarkable family tradition, having become the third generation to play in the FA Cup proper when Burscough grabbed their historic 3-2 victory over Gillingham in the first round four weeks ago.

His father Alex played in the Burscough side that lost to Sheffield United 25 years ago, and his grandfather, Larry Carberry, a one-time Burscough manager, made many FA Cup appearances for Ipswich Town in the 1950s and early 60s.

Liverpool-born Carberry won Third, Second and First Division title medals at Ipswich under Sir Alf Ramsey.

Father and grandfather are spectators at all Liam's Burscough games these days, as well as watching his 13-year-old brother Adam, who is with the Liverpool Academy.

"I feel very proud to keep the family tradition going," said Liam, who hopes for an eventual return to the full-time game and is currently training with Coca-Cola League Two side Bury.

He believes Burscough have a good chance of beating Burton and reaching the third round.

"It is going to be a difficult game against Burton, but the way we are playing I don't see why we can't beat them," he said.

"There is a lot of confidence in the side, and we have already beaten teams from higher levels in the last four rounds. We can test ourselves against them

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Burscough manager Derek Goulding with injured Mark Byrne
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 3, 2005
Words:351
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