FA Cup preview

Matches like the encounter that Wealdstone faces this Saturday (13 September) against Bedford Town don’t really get much more important these days. For a club at Stones level the FA Cup represents a unique annual opportunity for national publicity and, perhaps far more significant, much needed prize monies that have again been increased by the FA – £3,000 is on offer for the victor of this first round qualifying match this season.

Stones will have to do it the hard way and they could not really have asked for a much tougher draw at this very early stage of the competition. But at least Stones are at home at the Vale, facing a Bedford Town side that has recently struck a very decent vein of form. Southern League Premier Division Eagles’ win over Chippenham at the weekend extended their unbeaten run to four games and with the same number of clean sheets they will be a difficult and awkward outfit to break down. They currently sit in 7th place in their league but are clearly not unbeatable having had a stuttering early start to their campaign.

Bedford are a side that have a reputation for defensive organisation and physical strength so Wealdstone will have to call upon fresh reserves of guile, patience and concentration to win through and for their undoubted midfield qualities to shine.

Stones will be without Callum Martin through injury so Ben Alexander is again likely to partner Stephen Hughes up front and centre half James Gray may be doubtful following a double injury last Saturday.

But the home side will be hoping to rekindle the brilliant Cup form of last season when they turned over the likes of Bishops Stortford and only very narrowly went out to a quality Hampton & Richmond Borough side at the final qualifying stage.

This tricky but exciting start on the FA Cup journey will be every bit as big a challenge as those matches..

Kick-off at the Vale is 3pm.

(All Pay)