Tomorrow, the Collieries finally return to Emirates FA Cup action, as we travel to Guiseley’s Nethermore Park for a Second Qualifying Round Clash.
Over recent years, we have enjoyed a variety of modest cup successes, with our FA Trophy clashes with Barrow or our FA Vase run through Winsford, Shildon and Penrith being highlights of our recent campaigns, but a serious foray into the Football Association’s flagship competition has still remained evasive. Tomorrow, we play in the Second Qualifying Round for just the fourth time in our history, battling for the prize of matching our furthest ever progression in the competition.
However, that elusive feat of an FA Cup run remains as tough a challenge as ever, with Guiseley being the highest ranked side we have ever faced in the competition, a joint honour shared with only Buxton, both of whom were Step 2 clubs when we faced them in our historic 1994 campaign.
Speaking on the match, manager Brad Cooke said: “We are really looking forward to tomorrow’s game! It’s an opportunity to step away from the pressures of the league and really test ourselves against a team from the level above. We will show them the respect they deserve and we will be fully prepared, and likewise they’ve watched us so we fully expect them to be fully prepared too.“We would love to progress, and we will be doing everything we can to cause an upset. Performances have been positive to date and hopefully that continues on Saturday!” The Colls enter the game with a near full squad available, though Niall Battersby is continuing to work his way back to full fitness. Information for Supporters However, another milestone for tomorrow’s clash is that due to current government guidance, tomorrow’s match will also be our overdue debut into the world of “Elite Sport”, meaning the game will be played behind closed doors, an unwanted first for our history books. We would like to apologise to all of our supporters, volunteers and committee members who are unable to attend tomorrow’s fixture. It goes without saying that both ourselves and Guiseley wanted supporters through the gates, but unfortunately the circumstances are beyond our control.
As a message to supporters who can't attend, Brad Cooke has said: "I am gutted that we can't have any fans tomorrow. The support at Grantham on Saturday then Warrington on Tuesday was tremendous, we all know we would have travelled in our numbers again tomorrow. We will be trying to get the win for the fans following at home, we would love to play in the next round in front of a bumper crowd at the Skuna, keeping the dream alive!"
"I would also like to personally thank all of our fantastic volunteers who have been exceptional throughout pre-season and our opening weeks of the season. We are all in this together!" We will strive to provide live updates to all of our supporters on our Twitter feed (@ACFC1916), and we look forward to seeing many of you again at Nantwich next Saturday. The match will also be live streamed on the official Guiseley YouTube channel, more details are available here.