As we all know, tomorrow signals the beginning of Harriers journey into the FA Cup, once again at the second qualifying round. We reacquaint ourselves with a historic local rival, Stafford Rangers, in what will be the first meeting between the two sides in over a decade. The Marston Road outfit currently sit 21st in the Northern Premier League, with three points from seven games, scoring twice and leaking nine goals. To find out more about our opponents, I spoke to Fans Rep Alan Gee.
Q: Whilst this is our first game in the FA Cup, NPL teams entered in the previous round. How did that go?
Alan: The FA Cup game with Mickleover proved to be the exception to our league form, with Rangers’ finishing proving to be particularly clinical.
Q: You mentioned your poor start to the season. Was this something you could see coming?
A: We actually showed so much promise in pre season, winning 5, drawing 2 and scoring 25 in the process. The campaign so far though has disappointed. We’ve looked fairly solid in most games but we have struggled to hit the target.
Q: With that pre season promise in mind, what were your expectations for this season?
A: The play offs were a realistic aim but that task is now a lot harder. Mid table is now a more realistic target but it has to be said there is still a strong belief about the place that the league form will turn and we will finish way above where we are at the minute. A run in some of the cup competitions would be great as well!
Q: To the game tomorrow then. Who do you expect to play an important role?
A: Jake Charles (grandson of John Charles) is a player with a lot of ability and is getting plenty of faith shown in him. He came through at Huddersfield and can play up top or out wide. In goal, Lewis King has been a very strong addition to the squad and scooped the Player of the Month award for August.
The excellent @FACupFactfile on Twitter has, as always, previewed every game in this round. His findings on our games:
-The visitors have progressed past this round once in 11 years
-There have been 11 previous FA Cup meetings, with 5 wins apiece.
So, we know the opponents, we know the history. All that remains to find out is the result.