Colchester United boss Danny Cowley has wished former club Romford - and rivals Great Wakering Rovers - the best for this weekend's FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium.

Havering-born Cowley, 45, was a youth player at Wimbledon, before moving into non-league.

He joined Boro on loan from Boreham Wood, but signed permanently, and made his debut an Essex Senior Cup tie against London APSA in October 2004 - and found the net.

Cowley finished with 27 appearances and a second goal to his name that season, with brother Nick returning to the club to play alongside him and finishing with nine goals from 25 appearances for the club.

Their last appearance for Boro came in the Essex Thames-side Trophy final defeat against Aveley on May 2, 2005.

Both moved to newly-reformed AFC Hornchurch in 2005, helping them to an Essex Senior League treble, and Danny has been delighted to see his both of his old clubs do so well this season, with Urchins winning the Isthmian League Premier Division title and promotion to National League South in their centenary campaign.

“It’s an all-Essex FA Vase Final," said Cowley, who led Lincoln City to the EFL Trophy at Wembley in 2018, as well as two promotions.

“It’s incredible when you consider the strength, particularly in the north-east of this country at step five level.

“It’s a brilliant achievement and I just want to congratulate both Romford and Great Wakering Rovers on making the final.

“I believe I’m going to the final which will be good, so I’ll cheer both Essex teams on."

Romford have won all three previous meetings between the sides this season, coming out on top 3-2 at Burroughs Park in August, winning a home cup tie 4-2 in September and the league return by a single goal in mid-March.

But they go to Wembley on the back of a double disappointment, having lost the promotion play-off final to Sporting Bengal United on Bank Holiday Monday, followed by the Errington Challenge Cup to Stanway on Wednesday.

Hornchurch, meanwhile, saw their campaign end on April 27 with a 2-1 home win against Kingstonian, as they hit the 100-point mark and finished 21 clear of the pack.

Cowley added: “Hornchurch have had a fantastic season. I’m really pleased to see them get promoted.

“It was obviously Steve Morison in the first part of the season and then Daryl McMahon taking over and driven by Colin McBride, who was once my manager as well.

“It’s an outstanding achievement, particularly after the disappointment of missing out in the play-offs in the last two years I believe.

“For them to win the league and win it so convincingly in what is not an easy division to win, full credit to them and they’ll be looking forward to playing in the Conference South.”