Hampton & Richmond boss Mark Harper is looking to bury the ghost of last year’s inglorious FA Cup exit to lower league opposition this time around.
Harper takes his charges to AFC Kempston Rovers of the United Combined League Premier Division tomorrow for the first qualifying round, where they are clear favourites to win.
But still ringing in his ears is last season’s 6-2 FA Cup defeat at Arlesey Town of the Evo Stik Southern Premier Division, where they were also the clear favourites.
And on the back of five clean sheets out of five games so far this season, the Beavers are under increased pressure of expectation.
Harper said: “The FA Cup is difficult because when you go to a side a few levels lower than you, you tend to come down to their level.
“That’s what we did against a very good Arlesey side last year – we never turned up, we were poor and we just expected it to happen.
“Kempston Rovers have nothing to lose. When you get a higher level side come down to your ground, you take a little bit more of a risk, you put yourself about a bit more and you get players shooting from anywhere.
“We have to stay disciplined and not give Kempston anything to get their confidence up.
“We need to do a professional job and get out of there.
“I am sure that if we’re lucky enough to progress through this round and come up against a higher level side, the shoe will be on the other foot.”
Harper has a full squad from which to choose his side as Billy Jeffreys and Dean Inman are now back in contention.
The Beavers boss said: “The boys trained very hard on Tuesday night and there were a lot of challenges flying in, which shows me they are committed even in training.
“It was done at a high tempo and hopefully we can take that into Saturday.”