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FOOTBALL: FA Cup tie will be extra special

Deeping Rangers v Holbeach United
Deeping Rangers v Holbeach United

There is much more than local pride at stake when Holbeach United go to Deeping Rangers in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.

The extra preliminary round tie offers £2,250 for the winners plus £750 for the losers from the prize fund.

A bumper crowd is also guaranteed in the next stage on August 25 when AFC Rushden & Diamonds - backed by hundreds of supporters - will make the trip to south Lincolnshire.

This weekend's tie matches Deeping against the team who finished last season one place and two points above them in the United Counties League Premier Division.

Seb Hayes
Seb Hayes

Tigers boss Seb Hayes said: "The FA Cup is not a priority because we can't win this competition - but we will be making a challenge for the league title.

"People might think it's strange talking like that when we were beaten 3-1 at Daventry Town in the first game of the season.

"Last season was only a half effort when we got involved just because other teams were inconsistent.

"We were never really in the title race. Now we want to be up there by pushing as much as we can.

"We've prepared for Saturday by training twice but it was disappointing that we didn't get a midweek fixture when other teams played again in the UCL Premier Division.

"I'm still annoyed that Wisbech St Mary ruined our pre-season by dropping out of a friendly then a few days later they played Pinchbeck United in a rearranged game.

"It was a joke that they let us down then, for whatever reason, we couldn't find another team to play us.

"If we don't have a replay with Deeping in the FA Cup, we'll need to set up a game next midweek."

Defenders Jonny Clay (right) and Tom Smith (far left) could meet up again with their former Deeping team-mates having joined Holbeach this summer.
Defenders Jonny Clay (right) and Tom Smith (far left) could meet up again with their former Deeping team-mates having joined Holbeach this summer.

Holbeach signed central defender Jonny Clay and left-back Tom Smith from Deeping this summer.

The Tigers' squad also features former Clarets players Spencer Tinkler, Luke Avis and Will Bird.

Striker Lewis Leckie has left the club after scoring 28 goals last season.

Meanwhile, Deeping are looking to set up another home date with Diamonds - three years after more than 600 supporters saw a 3-0 away win.

Last season, Rangers matched their best-ever FA Cup run by reaching the second qualifying round.

A record crowd of nearly 700 - plus a live BBC audience - watched Kidderminster Harriers run out 4-2 winners at the Haydon Whitham Stadium.

Michael Goode
Michael Goode

Manager Michael Goode said: "We would prefer to play someone else in the FA Cup this time to make it different to the league campaign.

"Hopefully we will be geared up and ready for Holbeach.

"We've had a number of people away for the first two weeks of the season so we're happy with six points after shuffling the pack. The good news is we can welcome back four players on Saturday.

"A lot of players in our squad are comfortable in different positions. There is flexibility and we changed our midfield several times last Saturday at home to Wellingborough Town."

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