FA Cup first round news
by The Boy Holty
The FA Cup first round draw has been made and local lad Phil Neville was kind enough to draw Bury at home to either Nuneaton Town or Hemel Hempstead.
Nuneaton Town currently sit in the relegation zone of the Conference Premier. Until liquidation in 2008, they were known as Nuneaton Borough and reformed as 'Town' but are still referred to at 'Boro' by their fans. They've struggled in the league this season, but their home form is quite respectable. Their away form is shocking though with six defeats in their last six away games. Their goalkeeper is former Shaker Reice Charles Cook and their manager is Liam Daish.
Should we end up with a replay, it would be at the Liberty Way Stadium which holds 4500. This ground was the scene of a 0-0 draw in the fourth qualifying round against Hemel Hempstead.
Hemel Hempstead FC were founded in the same year as Bury, and last year were champions of the Southern League Premier Division. They are currently fourth from bottom of the Conference South but, as reflected in the draw at Nuneaton, have a decent away record with three wins from the last six away matches. Their manager is Dean Brennan.
If they win their replay, and hold Bury to a draw, we'll all reconvene at the Vauxhall Road ground in Hemel Hempstead which holds 3152.
You have to say that this is a good draw for Bury, at home to either one of two non league clubs, and teams that are struggling aswell. You should never underestimate non league clubs in this competition though as we've lost too many of these games in the past. You couldn't forget Blyth Spartans beating us 2-0 at Gigg in the 1990's, or Northwich Victoria, or Telford and we've made heavy weather of getting past the likes of Bishop Auckland and Weymouth in the recent past. The winners of the first round get £18,000 in prize money and while it would no doubt mean more to either of our potential opponents that us, it would still be a big boost to the club.
Will this be one of those years when we stay in the FA Cup beyond the firts couple of rounds? It doesn't happen very often but it would add to an already exciting season.