Holbeach United are hoping to make waves in the FA Cup yet again as they prepare for their first competitive game of the season on Saturday.
The Tigers play host to Eastern Counties League Division One side Swaffham Town in the extra preliminary round on Saturday (3pm), with the winners drawn away at Kirkley & Pakefield or Walsham Le Willows on August 20.
Carter’s Park is no stranger to FA Cup heroics, with Holbeach making national headlines just last season thanks to the famous and very spectacular overhead kick goal from keeper Ricky Drury in the 1-1 draw against Worcester City back in September.
Player/boss Tom Roberts, who is without the injured Adam Jackson and suspended duo Jamie Stevens and Josh Ford, hopes that the competition will capture the imagination of Tigers fans once again.
A prize fund of £1,500 is usually up for grabs for teams that win in the preliminary round, so Roberts knows that it’s important his side deliver a boost to the club coffers too.
He said: “It’ll be great to be back in competitive action. The lads have enjoyed being back in training together and friendlies can be fun, but nothing beats the real thing.
“And to start with the FA Cup is obviously a really exciting prospect.
“Last season we made national headlines for great reasons and it really raised the profile of the club.
“The financial benefits are obvious, teams at our level like to go on FA Cup runs because it’s great for the bank balance.
“We’ll do everything we can to go on another run this year, but it won’t be easy against Swaffham.
“We’ve done our homework on them, but it’s hard to really know what you’re up against on the first day of the season.
“We’ve got a few players missing, but it’s knockout football – so it will come down to who takes their chances or wants it most on the day.”
Should Saturday’s FA Cup clash end in a draw, Holbeach will be forced to travel to Shoemakers Lane on Tuesday night for a replay.
That would mean the scheduled ChromaSport UCL Premier Division opener at Yaxley (7.45pm) would to be rearranged.
However, should results be achieved in the ties involving Holbeach and Yaxley (they host Huntingdon Town), two of the UCL title favourites will go head-to-head on the opening night of the season.
Roberts admits that travelling to In2itive Park isn’t an ideal start of his side, but feels his squad is well equipped to handle Brett Whaley’s side on their 3G surface.
“Yaxley should certainly be right up there,” added Roberts. “It’s just a shame that we’ve got such a big game on the first night of the UCL season.
“Ideally, you want to be sharp when you’re playing a rival side.
“They’ve got a lot of experience and their 3G pitch suits their passing style of play.
“We’ll go there confident and with a very settled squad.”
Holbeach could have forward Sean Coughlan in their ranks ahead of Saturday’s opener.
The London-based teenager, who has represented Nigeria at youth level, impressed while on loan with the Tigers last season.
Roberts is hoping to seal a deal for the speedy striker, who made a big impact on everyone last term.
The Tigers boss said: “I’m not 100 per cent sure what Sean is doing. We’re talking and I’m hopeful that he’ll be with us by the weekend.
“He made a big impact on everyone here and signing him up would be positive news for all of us.
“With him living in London, it’s hard to say any more than we’re hopeful to have him.”