No fears for FA Cup underdogs AFC Sudbury

NEW AFC Sudbury manager Chris Tracey says Eastbourne Borough should not hold any fears for his side in today’s FA Cup Third Qualifying Round tie.

Sudbury, who occupy 20th spot in Ryman League Division One North, travel to the Sussex coast this afternoon to face their hosts who play in Blue Square Bet South – two steps higher up the non-league ladder – and are currently in sixth spot.

Tracey, whose appointment as manager of the Suffolk side until the end of the current season was confirmed on Wednesday, knows a thing or two about cup football, having captained AFC Sudbury in the FA Vase finals of 2003 and 2004 and played in the FA Cup against Brighton, Brentford and Darlington.

He said: “Sudbury are renowned for being a cup-fighting side, but we have not done it in the FA Cup in the last two or three years, so this is a great opportunity to keep Sudbury on the map.

“Eastbourne Borough should not hold any fears for us because we are massive underdogs just like we have been in every round so far because of our league position.

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“We are a better side away from home – we are less restricted and play with no fear as we proved in the previous rounds. At Leiston no-one gave us a chance, but we were solid and deservedly won 1-0.

“Eastbourne watched us on Saturday, but I don’t know what they would have learned, even though we won 6-1 – I certainly wasn’t over-impressed by our performance!”

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Sudbury have already picked up prize money to the value of �11,000 in cup competitions this season, and stand to collect a further �7,500 if they progress to the next round.

Tracey, who has not watched today’s opponents but is relying on a report from Chelmsford City manager Glenn Pennyfather, said: “It is a massive game for the club. We are talking proper money at this stage of the competition.”

Sudbury head to Eastbourne boosted by back-to-back wins in cup competitions in the past week. They beat Great Wakering Rovers 6-1 last Saturday in the FA Trophy and then won 5-2 at Felixstowe & Walton United in the LB Group Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday.

Tracey said: “We are slowly starting to galvanise ourselves – we have now lost just one of our last six games and it is the first time we have won two on the trot this season.

“We have got players who have played at a good standard, and it is about getting them to play together and hopefully that is starting to happen now.

“We have scored 11 goals in our last two games and are conceding less, although we were poor defensively against Felixstowe in the first half, and being a defender it makes me pull out what little hair I have got left!”

Sudbury are expected to be almost at full strength; Jemel Fox is suspended while Richard Howell should be fit after taking a knock on his knee on Tuesday.

“If we get through I am sure everyone would like to draw us because we would be one of, if not the, lowest-ranked teams left in the competition,” added Tracey.

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