United chase FA Cup dream

Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray gets up highest against Bishop's Stortford in the previous round. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography
Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray gets up highest against Bishop's Stortford in the previous round. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography

Sean Ray is calling on his players to keep the FA Cup dream alive by performing like heroes.

Hastings United visit Harrogate Town in the second round of the world famous competition today (Saturday). The game could not be much bigger because whoever wins could be paired with the likes of Arsenal or Manchester United in the next round.

“My message to the players is ‘go and be heroes’,” said Hastings player-boss Ray. “To reach the third round is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

As the higher grade team, Blue Square Bet North Harrogate will start as favourites but the U’s have already beaten two teams of the equivalent standing (Staines Town and Bishop’s Stortford) during a glorious cup run.

“If we settle in the game early maybe they might get anxious because they’re the home side and they’re expected to win. Maybe there’s a bit more pressure on them,” Ray went on. “It’s all about how they (the players) handle the occasion. If they handle it professionally then we’ve got a chance.”

Kick-off has been brought forward to 1pm to accommodate ITV’s extended highlights coverage.

TODAY’S MAIN FOOTBALL FIXTURES (3PM UNLESS STATED)

FA Cup, 2nd round: Harrogate Town v Hastings Utd 1.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Arundel v Rye Utd.

Division 2: Seaford Town v Little Common; Westfield v Bexhill Utd 1.30.

Reserve Section Premier: Rye Utd v East Preston.

Reserve Section East: Bexhill Utd v Peacehaven & Telscombe; Little Common v Newhaven; Shoreham v Westfield; Sidley Utd v Haywards Heath Town.