Sean Ray wants supporters to cheer Hastings United into the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in 10 years.
The U’s take on Blackfield & Langley at The Pilot Field today (Saturday). Whoever triumphs will go into the draw for the next round along with League One and Two teams such as Sheffield United, Swindon Town, Coventry City and Portsmouth.
“We want as much support as we can get because we will need them to pull us along,” said United player-manager Ray. “We want a nice big crowd and we want it nice and noisy.”
Hastings will start the fourth qualifying round tie as favourites against Wessex League opposition but Ray is taking nothing for granted.
“It’s a huge opportunity but we aren’t going to be taking them lightly,” he went on. The winners will receive £12,500 in prize-money. Hastings have already pocketed £15,000 for coming through three rounds so far.
“This might be the only chance we get as players and as a team to reach the first round of the FA Cup,” added Ray, who selects from a full strength squad.
“The opportunity has presented itself and we have got to be 100 per cent focused and 100 per cent ready to take it. You don’t know who you are going to get and you don’t know how far you are going to go but we want to still be in it after Saturday.”
TODAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (ALL 3PM)
FA Cup, 4th qualifying round: Hastings Utd v Blackfield & Langley.
Sussex Senior Cup, 1st round: Littlehampton Town v Westfield.
Sussex County League, Division 1: Selsey v Rye Utd; Sidley Utd v Lingfield.
Division 2 Challenge Cup, 1st round: Steyning Town v Bexhill Utd.
Division 2: Little Common v Saltdean Utd.