Flackwell Heath hoping to add to Keynsham Town's FA Cup woes

Flackwell Heath will be looking to add to Keynsham Town's recent FA Cup woes when they host them in the extra-preliminary round of the competition on Saturday, (3pm kick-off).

The Bristol-based Ks, who play in the Western League, have bowed out of the competition at this stage in each of their last 11 FA Cup campaigns, and, after a reasonably satisfying pre-season programme, Heath manager Chris Ayres will be hoping to make that 12.

The visitors to Wilks Park kicked off their league season on Saturday with a 5-0 defeat to Cadbury Heath, however, after playing another league fixture on Tuesday, they may have the competitive edge on Flackwell.

An understrength Heathens rounded off their preparations for the new season with a 2-1 friendly defeat at FC Stoneham on Saturday.

“We didn't take a strong side to Stoneham, but it gave other players game time,” said Ayres. “They're a good side with a good budget.

“I've been pleased with pre-season, the new boys we've brought in have integrated well and give us a bit more experience. I'm now looking forward to Saturday.

“Keynsham started their league on Saturday and they're playing again tomorrow (Tuesday) so they will have had two league fixtures before the game. They could be a little bit ahead of us in terms of competitive games, but we'll see. We'll be ready and we're looking forward to it. There should also be a good crowd for the first game.”

After Saturday's FA Cup tie, the Heathens will get down to the bread and butter of the league, having been switched from the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division into the Combined Counties Premier Division North this summer. They're set to go up against the likes of Holyport, Windsor, Burnham and Ascot United and Ayres believes this will result in bigger home crowds and bigger gate receipts. They start with a trip to Egham Town on Saturday, August 13 before welcoming Spelthorne Sports to Wilks Park on Tuesday, August 16.

“Egham finished third in the division last season so that's a big test first game and then we play Spelthorne on the Tuesday,” said Ayres.

“At the beginning of the season they're all difficult games because everyone is raring to go. We feel we're well equipped to be competitive.

“There will be more local games, with bigger crowds; the chairman is very pleased with that because it will generate more income for the club.”

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