Chichester City aim to take another step towards FA Vase glory on Saturday – and want a big crowd to cheer them to victory.
Miles Rutherford’s side have reached the last 32 of a competition that ends in a Wembley final and their progress has created quite a buzz at Oaklands Park.
If they can overcame Devon side Buckland Athletic in Saturday’s fourth round, they will be just three more rounds away from a dream trip to the national stadium. But City bosses are still insisting the final is still a very long way off and they just want to keep the run going if they can.
As well as the prestige of doing well in the competition, City have already earned £3,450 for getting this far.
And they will bank another £1,500 if they can get the better of Buckland, who won well at Horsham YMCA in rtound three.
Rutherford is under no illusions it will be their toughest Vase test to date.
We are probably the underdogs but home advantage will help even that up.City boss Miles Rutherford
He said: “We know they will be a very good side. We’ve had a lot of reports about them and all say they are a good footballing team.
“We are probably the underdogs but home advantage will help even that up.
“We will have to be at the top of our game and maybe hope that they are not at the top of theirs if we are to get through.
“You’re not going to get an easy game at this stage of a national competition.
“Buckland are in very good form – although we’re not fairing badly ourselves!”
Rutherford is right on that point.
Chichester have beaten Whitstable, Sheppey, Ash, Canterbury and Newhaven to reach the fourth round, while at the same time maintaining excellent league form which has left them third in the Southern Combination premier division going into the new year.
They also gave a good account of themselves away to National League South side Eastbourne Borough in the Sussex Senior Cup before a late goal clinched a 2-1 win for their hosts.
Rutherford said: “We’ve not been playing that well at times but have been getting results.
“We’d love to see a big crowd at Oaklands Park to see whether we can get into the last 16.”
Prolific striker Scott Jones will be back in the squad after a short spell away while key defender Jamie Horncastle, though not quite 100 per cent fit, could feature.
Back from suspension after a red card in the last round at Newhaven is Chris Hooker.
But City will be without a number of players, including forward Max Thoms, who is banned, and Jake Gale, who has a back injury.
Chichester City coach Danny Potter said: “The lads are really excited about the game on Saturday.
“We have been gearing up for this and we are well aware that it will not be easy.
“There is a real buzz about the club which I have not seen before despite all my years of involvement with Chichester City.”
Get updates from the game on Saturday from @stevebone1 on Twitter and get the first match report on Saturday evening at www.chichester.co.uk
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