LIVERSEDGE and Ossett United will look to make further progress in the FA Cup this weekend as both prepare for first qualifying round matches.
Sedge are at home for the third tie running, welcoming Stockton Town to Clayborn tomorrow (Saturday, kick-off 3pm), while United head to Thornaby at the same time.
Winners in this round will pocket £4,500 as well as moving to within three matches of the first round proper.
For Liversedge, it is only the second time in 12 years that they have progressed to this stage of the competition, and they have not gone further since their famous run to the final qualifying round in 2004-05.
They secured a comprehensive 5-1 win over Abbey Hey in the extra preliminary round this season before Joe Kenny’s late goal saw them upset higher-league opposition in Droylsden.
Stockton play at the same level, winning all four of their games so far in the Ebac Northern League Division One, and reached the FA Vase final in 2017-18.
They played Liversedge in a pre-season friendly and came out on top 5-0, and Sedge boss Jonathan Rimmington rates them as favourites again when they return to Clayborn.
He said: “It’s going to be tough on Saturday. They played in the FA Vase final last year, they’ve got a big budget, they’ve signed four players from (higher-league) Marske, so they’re going to be a tough nut to crack but we’re going to give it a go.
“We played them in pre-season but we didn’t really have a team and they beat us 5-0 at home. Now it’s totally different, so we’ll give them a battle hopefully.
“It’s important to the club for the money. The league is more important to me and we’re aiming for the league, but if we get through it will be a massive thing because they’re better than Droylsden.”
Ossett also face a team in that division, although Thornaby are rooted to the bottom of the table with only one point from six games.
United beat yet another side in that league, Billingham Town, in the preliminary round for their first FA Cup win since the merger in 2018.
Ossett Town reached the final qualifying round of the competition in 2017-18, while Albion did likewise three times in their history.
Thornaby defeated Eccleshill 4-0 in the FA Vase last weekend, and their watching scout saw enough for United manager Andy Welsh to warn that the tie will be far from easy.
“We know quite a bit about them and we know it’s going to be a tough game,” he said.
“I had someone watching the game at the weekend when they beat Eccleshill 4-0. So we know what to expect, and the North East is always a tough place to go.
“You want to go into every game and win it. If you continue to work very hard in games you’ve always got a chance and that’s what the message will be to the players.”