Hastings United manager John Maggs is looking forward to a ‘special’ reunion with old club Horsham.
United will host the Hornets - who Maggs managed for 11 years and led to the second round proper of the FA Cup in 2007 - in FA Trophy first round qualifying today (Saturday).
Maggs said: “Saturday’s game is a really big one for the club. You’ve got something a bit special. It’s not only a Sussex derby, but I think possibly there will be 10 of my former players playing in the Horsham line-up.
“I know all about Horsham and their capabilities. I know the boys will want to come and rub my nose in it a little bit because there’s nothing better than to put one over the old gaffer. It’s going to be a difficult game.”
If Maggs can put one over his old club, it will be only the second time since 1998 that Hastings (who were then known as Town rather than United) have won two FA Trophy ties in the same season. Victory would also earn United £2,700 from the FA’s prize-fund on top of the £2,500 they made from getting the better of Brentwood Town in the preliminary round.
The Ryman Football League Division One South table would certainly have United as favourites. They currently sit second, some 16 places and 15 points above their opponents.
Sean Kelly starts a three-match ban tomorrow so on loan Josh Hare will continue at centre-half. Rodrigo Branco is a major doubt having gone to hospital with a twisted ankle sustained against Tooting. Tom O’Connor is unavailable as parent club Bromley don’t want him cup-tied.
If the game - United’s sixth in succession at The Pilot Field - ends in a draw, a replay will take place at Gorings Mead on Wednesday with a 7.30pm kick-off. Follow @SimonNewstead on Twitter for match updates and return to this website this evening for a report.
Elsewhere today, Rye United are at home to Oakwood and Westfield go to Horsham YMCA in round two of the Sussex RUR Charity Cup, while in Sussex County League Division Two, Bexhill United are away to Haywards Heath Town and Little Common host Steyning Town. All of these games will kick-off at 3pm.