United in the mood to cause FA Cup upset

Eastbourne United travel to Folkestone Invicta
Eastbourne United travel to Folkestone Invicta

The magic of the FA Cup returns again for Eastbourne United this weekend as they travel to Folkestone Invicta.

Just like United’s previous FA Cup scalp, Herne Bay, Folkestone ply their trade in the Ryman League South - two divisions higher than United.

But if United can put in a performance close to the one which has seen them get this far in the competition, manager Simon Rowland believes they have every chance in this Preliminary Round to earn the £1,925 prize money.

However, a repeat of last week’s performance, which saw United suffer their first defeat of the season away to Storrington in the John O’Hara, will mean their task becomes decidedly harder.

“A repeat of the Herne Bay would be fantastic. If we play like we did then we have definitely got a good chance.

“But the reality is that we are a Division Two side and that was proved on Saturday. Although we made a lot of changes we showed some defensive frailties and missed a lot of chances. We can’t do that on Saturday.”

Rowland will be boosted by the return of striker Ryan McBride, who is available for selection again having missed last week’s defeat, and has the luxury of picking from a fully fit squad.

He revealed that the squad are likely to be joined by new recruits in the coming week as well.

An approach has been made for Hastings United’s goal-scoring midfielder Matt Mclean and Rowland expects that to be finalised shortly. He also said that there should be three more added in the next seven days.

On top of that United will be boosted by the news that two key players have committed themselves to the club.

Rowland expressed his delight at centre-back Shaun Loft rejecting advances from rivals Eastbourne Town, despite there being a lucrative financial package on offer.

Hastings have also made an approach for target-man McBride but the in-form striker intends to stay at the Oval.