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Basingstoke Town begin bid for FA Cup glory
THE MAGIC of the FA Cup will come to the Camrose this weekend as Basingstoke Town take their first steps on the long road to Wembley.
Southern League Premier outfit Weymouth will provide the opposition for Town in the second qualifying round of the famous competition on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Basingstoke’s chances of winning the FA Cup may be remote, to say the least, but the competition always attracts plenty of interest – and it is capable of giving non-league sides an important, and massive, financial boost if they can make it to the third round proper.
Saturday’s match will be the first time that Town boss Jason Bristow has experienced the FA Cup as a manager – but he knows exactly what it means to the club, the players and the supporters.
“The FA Cup is massive for clubs at our level,” he said. “The financial rewards are great now, and if you can go on a run, as we have done a few times in recent history, it can really help.
“It’s also important to players because they get the chance to come up against sides at a higher level and it can be great for the fans.”
Weymouth are expected to bring a large following to the Camrose for the match, and Bristow is hoping that the people of Basingstoke turn out in force to support his side.
“The FA Cup does attract passing fans and I hope a few more people will come down to watch us on Saturday,” he said. “Weymouth will probably bring a few supporters, the weather looks good and I hope we can make it a good day for everyone.”
Like Basingstoke, Weymouth have not had a great start to the season, winning just one of their opening seven league games – but Bristow insists that his side cannot afford to take anything for granted.
“There is no room for complacency,” he said. “We expect Weymouth to be tough to break down and hard working.
“We will try to put league positions out of our mind because we just want to perform well and get the result. At the end of the day, it’s another game and we will approach it in exactly the same way because it’s one we need to win.
“We want to get the job done on Saturday. We need to go out there, put on a performance for 90 minutes and get a result.”
Town go into the game having lost their last two matches, but Bristow was pleased with the way his side performed in their 1-0 defeat at Eastbourne Borough last week and is backing them to turn things around.
“Hopefully, we have turned a corner because Saturday’s performance was good but just the final ball or finish was missing,” he said. “Hopefully a good result is just around the corner.
“We need to get on a little run and hopefully that will start on Saturday. We have a game against Staines after this and if we can win both of those, it might just get our season up and running.”
After a difficult few weeks, Town’s injury problems finally seem to be letting up. Midfielder Stuart Lake will be out for four to six weeks with a broken toe, while Jide Ogunbote remains sidelined by a leg injury, but defender Ross Adams (shin) and striker Delano Sam-Yorke (hamstring) look set to return to the side.
Sam-Yorke has been an especially big miss in the last couple of weeks and the quick, powerful striker should add another dimension to the Basingstoke attack.
Bristow said: “Delano is a big player for us. He makes us a real threat in behind defences and frightens defenders on the turn.
“We really miss him when he does not play but we have to make sure he is right. We do not want to bring him back too soon and have the injury flare up again.”