By Matt Badcock
JAMIE HOWELL thought he was being wound up when he found out Eastbourne Borough had been drawn at home with former club Bognor Regis Town in the FA Cup.
Howell joined Eastbourne back in May just two days after leading the Rocks to Isthmian Premier play-off glory.
He spent seven years at the helm of the club where he also enjoyed a long playing career before deciding to take up a new challenge.
He’s already been back to his previous employers in the National League South this season – they won 1-0 – but he admits an FA Cup third round qualifying match-up wasn’t what he’d hoped for.
“I thought I was being wound up,” Howell said. “I got a text from our player Kane Wills, who’d been at Bognor before, about 1.05pm. He just put, ‘You couldn’t make it up!’ I thought, ‘It’s got to be Bognor’. And it is. It’s not the best draw, I’m glad I’m home, but they know us and we know them well.
“I was hoping we’d do well in the FA Cup and so would they. It’s a shame one of us will have to go out.
“I spoke to (general manager) Jack Pearce briefly and I think if I’m honest neither wants to play each other but that’s football. It will be a good game. I’m just trying to make sure I do the best for my club – I was just gobsmacked when I was told it was Bognor.
“I don’t think Bognor have played Eastbourne in a Trophy or FA Cup game in 20 years. So it there might be a bit of destiny and fate there.
“It will be tough, it was very tight when we played them earlier in the season, and I think this game will be too. We’ll have to be at our very best.”