FA Cup campaigns begin for Newmarket Town, Ely City and Mildenhall Town
Newmarket Town, Ely City and Mildenhall Town will all begin their Emirates FA Cup campaigns with extra preliminary round ties on Saturday.
For Newmarket, they will play host to an Arlesey Town side who were relegated down to Step 5 at the end of last season.
The Jockeys enjoyed a run to the first qualifying round in 2018/19, which is the furthest they have been in the world’s oldest cup competition since taking Histon to a third qualifying round replay 16 years ago.
And player-manager Michael Shinn is hoping to enjoy a similar journey this time around.
“Everyone mentions the finances when they talk about the FA Cup and that is obviously great for the club,” he said. “But as players you never really concentrate on that, it is all about having a good run and staying in it as long as you can.
“If we can go two or three rounds like last year that would be great. We had a good trip to Heybridge, took some fans and gave a good account of ourselves. It is a great competition to be in and hopefully we can make the most of home advantage.”
Meanwhile, Ely boss Brady Stone is eyeing a first ever win as manager in the FA Cup.
Stone took charge of the Robins back in 2014, but he has never managed to guide the club into the preliminary round – a record that he hopes to change with the weekend trip to Potton United, who like Arlesey, play in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.
“Martin (Grey, assistant) and I have never won a game in the FA Cup – that shows how hard it is,” said Stone.
“It is massive for the club – they need the money. It is a bit of added pressure for us, but we will go there and see what happens. Potton have got a whole new team so we do not know too much about them. We have had other teams watched before and when we get over there it is completely different, so we will just focus on ourselves now and what we can do.”
As for Mildenhall, they will head to higher-league opposition in Biggleswade FC – champions of South Midlands Premier Division last term.
Mildenhall will make the trip in need of a win having lost their opening two games back in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division following the previous season’s relegation.
“It is a massive day for the club, and not just because it is the FA Cup,” said assistant Colin Vowden, who will be joined in the dugout by manager Ricky Cornish on Saturday after he missed the first two games of the season.
“We need to restore a bit of confidence and win games of football quickly – that is what we are here to do. If we can do that, and progress in the FA Cup, then we can kick on from there.”
Barring any replays, Mildenhall will host Newmarket in the league on Tuesday (7.45pm).
More by this authorLiam Apicella