James Baker is hoping to put right the wrongs of AFC Sudbury’s derby defeat by kick-starting an FA Cup run at Redbridge tomorrow (3pm).
The 28-year-old striker reached the first round with Braintree Town back in the 2005/06 season, coming up against future England number one Joe Hart in a 4-1 defeat — and is desperate to embark on another memorable run.
AFC go into the game on the back of a painful 3-1 home defeat to Suffolk neighbours and promotion rivals Nedham Market on Monday, where they were trailing to 10 men before losing their heads with three red cards in the space of the last 16 crazy minutes.
“The FA Cup is always important and gives us a chance quite quickly to put it right,” said Baker.
“Any young player in non-League or pro always wants to do well in the FA Cup.
“If you get a nice run it is good for the club and the fans, so it is a really special game.
“Luckily I got to play the first round with Braintree away at Shrewsbury and that was a good day.
“But that has been it really, with qualifying rounds here and there, but I would like another good run.”
AFC reached the third qualifying round last season, two rounds before the first round proper, but were knocked out at Needham, who then got to host Cambridge United in a glamour tie.
The only time the Yellows have reached the first round was back in 2000/01 when they lost 6-1 to Darlington.
But Baker is not expecting an easy game at divisional rivals Redbridge, with a potential replay taking place in Sudbury on Tuesday (7.45pm), instead of the scheduled league home match with Cheshunt, whose own replay could also see the game postponed.
“Like everything in this league, they’ll be in your face and we will need to win the battle first and then try and play some football,” he said.
Last season’s supporters’ player of the year netted 22 goals in all competitions from 33 starts and 11 substitute appearances in 2013/14, to top the club’s charts despite injury problems.
And after his previous best total of 28 (47 starts, two subs) in his first season in Suffolk in 2011/12, he is hoping he can break the 30-goal barrier for the first time.
n This week the club were mourning the loss of former midfielder Adie Hayes, who died at the age of 36 of a brain tumour.