12:00PM, Friday 10 September 2021
If the Rebels management team had been offered a home draw against step 4 level opposition in Monday’s FA Cup draw, they’d have certainly taken it.
But Jon Underwood and Neil Baker won’t be underestimating Isthmian League South East side Whitehawk and know the tie won’t be an easy one to navigate.
The Rebels were twice taken to replays by step 4 level opponents in 2019 – when they progressed to the second round proper and played Gillingham – so won’t be taking their opponents lightly.
The second qualifying round draw was made on Monday lunchtime and Whitehawk will visit Arbour Park on Saturday, September 18, 3pm kick-off.
“If someone offered you a home game against a team from a lower level, I think any manager would always say that’s a good draw,” said Underwood.
“I know we’ve had some difficult games against teams from that level.
“When I look back to the year, we played Gillingham in the second round proper, we drew at home twice against Step 4 teams and had to go away from home and win the replay.
“They’re never easy or straightforward games.
“It's felt like in the FA competitions in recent years we’ve had some tough draws against teams in our league, so of course we’re happy, but we’ve got to respect the opposition.
“I’ll be going down to watch them on Tuesday night, they’ve got a league game which falls nicely for us and we’ll have to take it very seriously.”
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)