“It’s like a dream” - AFC Sudbury boss David Batch hoping for FA Cup success as his side host FC Romania in First Qualifying Round today

Kris Newby scored a superb hat-trick on Tuesday night against Great Wakering Rovers

Kris Newby scored a superb hat-trick on Tuesday night against Great Wakering Rovers - Credit: Su Anderson

AFC Sudbury host Essex Senior League side FC Romania in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round today expecting a tough test from a side that have already knocked out higher-ranked opposition out of the competition this season in the form of Heybridge Swifts.

Formed in 2006, Hertfordshire-based FC Romania, whose complete playing squad and management team is made up of Romanian players that have moved over to England, enter today’s game as very much the underdogs, but also potential giant-killers having already taken the scalps of Ryman North outfit Heybridge in this competition - where they triumphed 2-1 in a shock result.

Having won their previous three games prior to this fixture, including a 5-1 thumping of Great Wakering Rovers in the Ryman North on Tuesday evening, David Batch’s Sudbury are on a roll right now though and will go into the game full of confidence.

Kris Newby, a summer signing from Witham Town, scored a superb hat-trick in the demolition of Great Wakering and Batch was pleased with his star man.

“Kris did well on Tuesday,” said the Sudbury boss. “He could have had another two goals, and probably should have had another two, but his hat-trick was well-deserved.”

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Ayrton Coley also netted two goals on a good night for Batch’s men, and the striker drew a high level of praise from his manager.

“Tuesday was Ayrton’s best performance for us since joining in the summer,” claimed Batch.

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“He did all of the things we’ve been wanting and asking from him for weeks and weeks - and hopefully he’ll understand what we want from him more now.”

Coley and Newby will be hoping to combine again in the forward positions this afternoon against opposition Batch is not underestimating.

Of FC Romania, who compete in the league below Sudbury, Batch said: “We’ve had them watched and they’ve got lots of good players.

“A few of their players have played at very good levels of football in Romania and we know they’ve got some qualities, but they’ve also got some weaknesses which we’ll look to take advantage of.

“We wouldn’t be complacent against any opposition - we went to bottom-of-the-table Great Wakering on Tuesday and played some really excellent football.”

Batch is keen for FA Cup progression and sees the competition as a great opportunity for Sudbury.

“It’s (the FA Cup) a bit of a dream - you want to stay in it as long as you can, and the longer you stay in it, the better,” he said. “Obviously we’re not going to be in the latter stages of the whole thing, but getting to the latter qualifying stages is always good. “It presents chances of money and glory - you can get some testing games against different teams and it’s a nice competition to be a part of.”

After a relatively hot-and-cold August which saw Sudbury win two, draw two, and lose two league games, they now look to be on that winning path having beaten Great Wakering 5-1, Maldon & Tiptree 1-0, and Redbridge 3-2 in their last three fixtures in all competitions.

However, Batch knew things wouldn’t all go their own way at the start of the season as he explains: “We knew our first six games were really tough.

“Three out of six of the teams we’ve played (Wroxham 1-0 win, Aveley 3-0 loss, Needham Market 3-1 loss) currently sit in the top as things stand six while two others (Cray Wanderers 5-1 win, Thamesmead 3-3 draw), had just been relegated from the Ryman Premier.

“I knew, and we knew, our start was tough and we didn’t get too excited. There are 38 league games left and over the course of the season things will level out and people will find their level.”

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