JAMIE Vermiglio has revealed how he and his coaching team set about steering non-league Chorley FC into the last 32 of the FA Cup.

Vermiglio's National League North side defeated a youthful Derby County at freezing-cold Victory Park in Lancashire in front of the BT Sport cameras on Saturday, capping a frantic week for the Locking Stumps Community Primary School headteacher.

The 38-year-old, who had already masterminded giant-killings over Wigan Athletic and Peterborough United, had everything planned heading into game week, which was also a busy school period as the children were returning from their Christmas holiday.

But Covid-19 turned everything on its head by the end of Monday.

The announcement of the third national lockdown brought schooling changes for Vermiglio to contend with.

And him, his assistant Andy Preece and the rest of Vermiglio's coaching staff at Chorley had to start again with their match plans when an outbreak of the virus in the Derby camp meant interim manager Wayne Rooney and the entire first-team squad were sidelined.

“We were all fully prepared for the Derby first team," said Vermiglio.

“I’d watched them against Birmingham, Preecey had watched them against Sheffield.

“We had all the footage, all the set plays, we were really prepared to go into the week’s training.

“And then on Monday night when I was watching the news and getting prepared for school the next day with the lockdown news, I was slowly getting some information through to say what had happened at Derby.

“First and foremost we hope that they are all ok at Derby.

“Then it brought a real uncertainty and we did not know who was going to play.

“It was only on Thursday night maybe Friday that we knew it was going to be their under 18s predominantly and under 23s. So we didn’t know too much about them.

“We got in touch with a lot of people who are at local clubs in the Premier League and Championship and they were able to help us out with footage and set plays.

“And even that, it didn’t prepare us fully because there were three or four names we didn’t get right and they played a different shape that we didn’t get, so they obviously just played with what they had in front of them.

“The message was to be a bit physical and be a bit more direct than we try to be.

"Set plays are important to us. And we got a goal at a really good time. I think that eased things a little bit.

"I was trying to play down the favourites card, I wanted us to go in there as underdogs to make sure we had the fire in our belly.

"With the greatest respect to Derby, after about five minutes we kind of knew it was the kind of game we should be winning and we needed to really enforce ourselves on the game and we did.

"The idea was to just hit the corners, put the ball in, pick up a second and try to build from up there.

"We were able to do that. The game plan worked and as a result we were able to get through. The second goal, well it really just calmed the nerves."

> Watch Vermiglio and his players celebrate the victory

He summed up his feelings regarding the club achieving a place in the fourth round for the first time, having not previously gone beyond the second round.

"I’m ecstatic, really proud. Really proud moment for me, the club, the supporters, absolutely everyone associated," said Vermiglio.

"It's just amazing for us. I played a video before the start of the game just for the players, just to see how far we’ve come in such a short space of time.

"The four players we had at the start of the season, who were signed from last season, and I had a brand new group. And the way they have mixed and the camaraderie and the character is just something to behold and I’m so pleased for all of those players who are giving everything for us."

Vermiglio also revealed how the historic win may not have happened on Saturday had it not been for the heroic efforts of the groundsman Ben Kay.

A big tent had been placed over the pitch for five days to counteract the snow fall and icy conditions.

A blown heater overnight left Kay and his helpers concerned the pitch would not be playable, and they slept there to ensure that it would be.

"I Facetimed Ben Kay in the early hours of the morning. That was at 2am, just when I was about to go to bed to try and get a few hours in. He was down there, on the pitch, he’d slept there with a few others just to try and do that little bit more to get the game on.

"I woke up at 6am and tried the same thing, and I was greeted with a picture of Ben Kay fast asleep in the middle of the football pitch which was very strange at 6am when you’re looking to play in the third round proper.

"So a lot of effort went on behind the scenes to make sure the game was on but of course the lads had to go out there to win.

"We were in a fortunate position, we’ve done that, now we are through. We’d already made history and the message was to go and make even more. And we’ve done that."