Ahead of Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round the Football Association have made the draw for the First Qualifying Round with three local sides in the hat.
Bracknell Town, Highmoor-IBIS and Ascot United have all been drawn but will have to get through tough fixtures on Saturday against the likes of Didcot Town and Egham Town.
Highmoor-IBIS have on paper the best opportunity to progress to the first qualifying round given that of the three, they are facing step five counterparts in Hellenic Premier Division rivals Brimscombe & Thrupp.
Bracknell Town have arguably the toughest test in Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 side Egham Town – the brilliantly named Sarnies finished third last season but have only won once this season in three games and the Robins have Adam Cornell.
As for Ascot United, well I’ve written them off to already this season and they continue to prove me wrong so I’ll not make that mistake again. I fully expect them to get past struggling Evo-Stik Division 1 side Didcot Town on Saturday.
As much as I expect the Yellamen to pull a shock on Didcot, getting past Ryman Premier Tonbridge Angels is another story in the First Qualifying Round.
It’s an entirely different view for Bracknell and Highmoor who will both face Southern Combination sides – the equivalent step five league to the Hellenic covering Sussex and southern Surrey.
If they can take good form in to those games then I’d definitely expect both to at least reach the Second Qualifying Round, which is one hell of an improvement on last seasons performance for all our Berkshire clubs!