Rovers boss says they may be favourites

THE third qualifying round of the FA Cup sees the heroes of the last round, Haverhill Rovers at home to Kidsgrove Athletic.The Stoke-based side are currently fifth-bottom in the Unibond First Division and although still two levels about Rovers in the non-league pyramid, could quite easily be underdogs for the tie at Hamlet Croft on Saturday week.

By Mike Bacon

THE third qualifying round of the FA Cup sees the heroes of the last round, Haverhill Rovers at home to Kidsgrove Athletic.

The Stoke-based side are currently fifth-bottom in the Unibond First Division and although still two levels about Rovers in the non-league pyramid, could quite easily be underdogs for the tie at Hamlet Croft on Saturday week.

That's the opinion of Haverhill manager Richard Carter, who is delighted with the draw and proud of his team.

“It's strange because all of a sudden we could be favourites for this tie, even though Kidsgrove play two levels above us,” Carter said last night.

“Certainly people who know about football know what a good side we are and that the difference in league standings won't count for anything.

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“I think the tie is winnable from our point of view and the rewards could be enormous. The Conference sides come into the hat in the next round and if we could beat Kidsgrove and then draw Oxford United away, it could set the club up financially for years.” But all that is still ahead of Haverhill, who are still reflecting on a terrific afternoon's entertainment at Hamlet Croft on Saturday, when Paul Shaw's injury-time winner gave them a 1-0 victory over Conference South side Eastbourne Borough.

“That's the time to score,” Carter added. “They had no way of coming back after that.

“It was a great afternoon and credit to my players. I just pick the team, it is they who have to go on the park and do the business and they certainly did that. This time last year when I was at Long Melford I couldn't buy a win - now 12 months later it has all changed.”

AFC Sudbury's reward for their victory at Tooting & Mitcham on Saturday is another away tie, this time to Woodford United a Milton Keynes side who knocked out Wroxham in the round before last.

Sudbury manager Mark Morsley admits the FA Cup can generate much revenue for smaller sides.

“Financially the FA Cup is lucrative,” he said.

“We have already won £7,000 and it would be £12,000 if we beat Woodford.

“That's a lot of money for our club and if we were to progress, you don't know who you might draw in the next round. That could be our potential FA Cup final, but we will see.”

Chelmsford beat Dereham 4-0 last night and Heybridge and Maldon are both in replays tonight. Only Heybridge would be at home should they get through - to Dover.

FA Cup third qualifying round draw (matches involving local clubs): Solihull or Alfreton v Wisbech, Cambridge City v Matlock Town, Woodford United v AFC Sudbury, Rugby Town v Chelmsford, Haverhill v Kidsgrove Ath., Heybridge or Didcot v Dover, Margate v Maldon or Potters Bar.

Matches to be played on Saturday, October 14.

Winning clubs receive £5,000.

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