FA Cup third qualifying round: 26th time the charm for Salford City?

One victory separates Salford City from achieving a club milestone when they host Bradford Park Avenue in the third round of FA Cup qualifying on Saturday.

The club are looking to reach the fourth qualifying round of football’s oldest competition for the first time ever in their 26th campaign after two previous defeats at this stage.

With growth expected, following the publicised backing from five of Manchester United’s ‘Class of 92’, the breaking of new ground would indicate promising signs.

Bradford ply their trade a division higher, but the Ammies have home advantage and already punched above their weight with victory over Curzon Ashton in the last round.

“Can’t wait for the FA Cup game, it’s a brilliant draw for us playing a side from the league above, can we be giant killers again? ” mused joint-manager Anthony Johnson.

“It’s a great competition to be in, we’re two wins off the first round proper and obviously we’ve never been anywhere near that type of stage so it’s a massive game for us, but I think we can win if we prepare right and we’re right on the day.”

Both sides progressed with 2-1 wins suggesting an intriguing cup-tie that will see the winners scoop £7,500 and a place in the final qualifying round.

The contest is one of 38 round ties on Saturday – though Hyde United’s second qualifying round replay against Northwich Victoria will also be played – while FC United of Manchester host Buxton on Sunday.

FCUM have never lost at this stage, with two defeats in the fourth round of qualifying and a lofty voyage into the second round proper when defeated by then League One Brighton after a replay.

Stalybridge Celtic, who twice made the main draw’s first round but no further, travel to a Chasetown side that reached the third round proper in 2007.

Ashton United meanwhile will have to overcome a tricky fixture at AFC Rushden & Diamonds if they hope to make the final qualifying round for only the second time.

Notably both Ashton and Chasetown managed five goals in the last round while their opponents both scored three, so fans might expect goals.

The other Greater Manchester side remaining are Droylsden and they’ll be out to cause an upset when they host Gainsborough Trinity from two divisions above.

All sides will be hopeful of a rise in attendance figures on what is national ‘Non-League Day’, and while it is a chance to celebrate all semi-professional and amateur clubs in the UK, an FA Cup victory would be a rich bonus for the clubs involved.

You can read more about the ‘Non-League Day’ here:

Image courtesy of Salford City via YouTube, with thanks.

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