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Cup quests at home and away

Hungerford welcome Western Leaguers and Thatcham head to Hastings

Malcolm Howe



Cup quests at home and away

Strike: Thatcham's Marcus Mealing against New College last week

HUNGERFORD Town and Thatcham Town have differing tasks as they go into action in Saturday’s FA Cup First Qualifying Round.

Southern League Premier Leaguers Hungerford will be clear favourites when they meet Western League Bradford Town at Bulpit Lane, while Thatcham take on Ryman League South Hastings United at the Pilot Field.

Despite the gap in statuis, Hungerford manager Bobby Wilkinson has warned his side not to take the visitors lightly, especially after seeing them find form with

a 4-0 midweek home win over Cribbs.

“We are not taking them lightly at all,” he said. “They have players who have played at the higher level.

“Last season we played a team from a lower league at Chalfont, and we lost there. So we will be going out to make sure we don’t suffer that again and will be taking this game as seriously as any league match.”

Wilkinson gave run-outs to skipper Mark Draycott, Kelvin Bossman, Mike Jones and Dean Stow in a midweek 2-1 friendly win at Marlow, and they are in a full-strength squad.

Thatcham go to a Hastings side that has had mixed results this term, but ran league leaders Folkestone Invicta close before going down to a single goal in midweek, three days after losing 1-0 to Carshalton for their first defeat of the season at home.

Thatcham ran through their squad in Saturday’s Vase demolition of New College and Tuesday’s Floodlit Cup win over Didcot Reserves and expect to be at full strength.

Tadley Calleva are in Wessex League action at Downton with manager Danny Dolan hoping that his side can take its recent knock-out form into league work.

Dolan expressed his pride in his team after it went down to an on goal against Aldershot Town in the Hampshire Senior Cup in midweek, after hammering Woodley United 6-0 in the FA Vase on Saturday.

“But now we have to carry the last three performances into the league game at Downton on Saturday. We’re already playing catch-up in the league and are two games behind everyone else.”

Dolan is waiting only on in-form striker Ryan Stephens’ availability.

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