(TOP DUO: Neil Baker and Jon Underwood)
By Jon Couch
If it’s the magic of the FA Cup you want then Slough Town are the master illusionists.
The Rebels are preparing for their SEVENTH tie of this year’s competition when they welcome National League Sutton United to Arbour Park in a first round replay tonight.
But co-bosses Neil Baker and Jon Underwood are fully aware their side might have easily been knocked out by lower league opposition already this campaign – not once, but twice!
The National League South newcomers were taken to replays by both Step 5 Sholing and Step 4 Bristol Manor Farm after being held at home on both occasions, before eventually edging past league rivals Eastbourne Borough on the road in the fourth qualifying round.
That earned them a ‘3G derby’ with Sutton last Saturday where the Rebels revelled in the role of underdog, holding the cup’s most famed giantkillers to a battling 0-0 draw at Gander Green Lane.
Now, Baker and Underwood are looking to finish the job and continue the fairytale when Paul Doswell’s U’s come to town for the return fixture on Tuesday with League One Gillingham or National League Hartlepool United awaiting the winners.
“We’ve certainly had our fair share of luck this year,” Baker told The NLP. “We came so close to going out against Sholing and Bristol Manor Farm and I remember feeling so dejected after being held at home in both.
“Now, we’ve gone live on the BBC and are talking about a potential second round tie at home – just one game away from what could be a life-changing tie! That’s what the FA Cup can do, and that’s why it’s the best competition in the world.
“Unders [Jon Underwood] and I have experienced every emotion already this year and it’s taught us a lot about our players.
“We were delighted with their efforts at Sutton on Saturday – in fact we were disappointed not to have won the game, which is a sign of how far we have come.
“Sutton, though, are a club with a proud FA Cup history having famously knocked out Coventry City [in 1989] and Leeds United two years ago, so they’re not going to go out without a fight.
“Paul [Doswell] is a great guy and we have a lot of respect for both him and his Sutton side. But we will take a lot of confidence from last Saturday, and hopefully we can make it an occasion to remember at Arbour Park on Tuesday night.”