Leiston boss satisfied after Blues are drawn at home to Gloucester City in FA Cup
- Credit: Archant
Richard Wilkins has welcomed Leiston’s FA Cup Third Qualifying Round draw with National League North side Gloucester City, ahead of tonight’s Ryman League Premier clash at East Thurrock United.
The Blues were drawn out of the hat yesterday and will host the Tigers, at Victory Road, on Saturday, October 10, with the winners receiving £7,500 in prize-money.
Victory and a cash boost would be the perfect tonic for Wilkins’ table-topping side, who are also chasing glory in the league as well as the Ryman League Cup, the latter being a competition that may have to play second fiddle this season.
“We are at home and that’s the biggest thing,” said former Bury Town boss Wilkins.
“Looking at Gloucester’s position in the league, I think they are about sixth or seventh-bottom, it’s a winnable game, but there were easier draws.
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“There were tougher draws too and you can’t pick and choose.”
The Blues reached the First Round Proper of the competition in 2008, eventually going out 2-0 at then-Conference side Fleetwood Town, following a goalless draw in front of more than 1,000 people at Victory Road in the original tie.
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That cup run captured the imagination of non-league football supporters in Suffolk, and Wilkins believes only good can come from the club being in the competition.
“It’s a massive game and I always think an FA Cup run is vitally important in terms of generating funds that can possibly be utilised further on in the season, in terms of getting another body in, when there’s an injury, or providing more flexibility for the squad,” he said.
“It’s great PR for the club and the area and while it’s easy to say ‘we are concentrating on the league’ if you go out, I don’t think many teams want to be exiting the competition.
“It does slightly change my thinking for next week’s League Cup game with Maldon & Tiptree next Tuesday, with the Gloucester game coming up on the Saturday.”
While Wilkins may have to consider chopping and changing his side for that League Cup game, selection for that match or the tie with Gloucester could not be further from his thoughts, with points at stake this evening.
“East Thurrock have a lot of firepower up front, and they will be difficult to beat on their ground,” said Wilkins, who is sweating on striker Christy Finch’s fitness (groin),” said Wilkins.
“We are made of sterner stuff this season, we are more resilient, even if we have not been at our best, which proves we have got good team spirit and have players that want to play for each other.
“We also play well in the second half on Saturday (in the Cup win against Tonbridge Angels) so hopefully we can take that kind of form to East Thurrock.”
Elsewhere, Chelmsford City will go to Basingstoke in the next round of the FA Cup, should they overcome hosts, Ebbsfleet, tonight.