Jules Mumford is excited to be making his managerial debut in the Emirates FA Cup when his Long Melford side host London Bari this weekend.
The Villagers return to the world famous cup competition for the first time in three years on Saturday (3pm), after missing out on qualification in the previous two seasons.
But after winning the Thurlow Nunn League First Division in April, Mumford’s side will be among 368 teams starting the road to Wembley in the extra preliminary round, which begins tomorrow night.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve qualified,” the Melford boss said. “I don’t know much about the team we are playing but we’ll set ourselves up as we usually do.
“We’d like to have a cup run as it’s great for the club. Financially it brings money in, with the prize money on offer.”
Melford will pocket £1,500 if they can see off London Bari this weekend, with another side from the Essex Senior League awaiting in the preliminary round on August 29.
The winner will play either Basildon United or Sporting Bengal United in two weeks, with the Essex clubs all playing at the same level of the pyramid as Mumford’s side.
“It’s great to be managing in the FA Cup,” the Melford boss said. “I can’t see us winning it this year, but it will be a good day for the club to be playing in it again on Saturday.”
This will be Melford’s 10th appearance in the FA Cup, with their best run to date reaching the second qualifying round back in 2004-05.
The Villagers made their Premier Division debut away at Felixstowe and Walton United at the weekend as the 2015-16 Thurlow Nunn League season got under way.
Miles Powell’s first-half strike was the difference as Felixstowe ran out 1-0 winners at the Goldstar Ground.
And despite starting their new campaign with a defeat, Mumford was pleased with how his side performed against a team that has finished in the top five of the division in the last two seasons.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything else from the boys,” said the Melford boss, whose side were due to host Whitton United last night, ahead of entertaining Stanway Rovers next Tuesday (7.45pm).
“The first 20 minutes we were a bit slow, but after that we worked really hard.
“The quality wasn’t quite there but that will come with games. I think we deserved a draw from it.
“It was a tight game throughout and we wanted to compete in these games, which we definitely did.
“There were plenty of positives to take from it. We know it’s going to take a while to adapt, but we’ve got the players to do it.”
n Hadleigh United get their FA Cup campaign started with a trip to Essex side Hullbridge Sports on Saturday (3pm).
The Brettsiders endured mixed fortunes at the Millfield on the opening week of the season, as they followed a 1-1 draw to Walsham-le-Willows on Saturday with a 4-0 defeat to Felixstowe on Tuesday.
n In the First Division, Halstead Town look to continue their unbeaten start when they visit March Town United, while Cornard United are aiming for their first win against Dereham Town Reserves (both Saturday, 3pm).
After a 1-1 draw with Leiston Reserves on Saturday, Halstead were 3-1 winners over Cornard on Tuesday, who lost 1-0 to Downham Town in their first game of the campaign.