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Robbie Nightingale seeks FA Cup full house as Cambridge City prepare to face Halesowen Town

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Cambridge City manager Robbine Nightingale. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge City manager Robbine Nightingale. Picture: Keith Heppell

Robbie Nightingale is under no illusions about the challenge ahead for Cambridge City in the third qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The Lilywhites defeated higher league Cheshunt 2-1 last Saturday, with an own goal and Ryan Sharman doing the damage, and their reward was a home tie against Halesowen Town next Tuesday (October 13).

The Yeltz are at the same level of the pyramid as City, being in the Southern League, Division One Central, but have a knock-out tournament pedigree after their exploits last season.

“All you can ask for when the draw is made is a home tie. The next thing you look at is where the team is seeded,” said City boss Nightingale.

“We got the first thing right, a home draw, and it’s midweek so teams having to travel to us is a difficult one.

“Halesowen we know quite a bit about and watched last season as they flew the flag for Step 4 clubs and got to the FA Trophy semi-final.

“We know they will be a very tough team. The calibre of player they have, they are Step 2 and 3 players through the squad, and lads who have won the league at Step 4 so we’re under no illusions.

“It’s a very tough, tricky tie but they are at the same step. We’re looking forward to it, as I’m sure they are, and it’s a good chance for either one of us to progress to the fourth qualifier.”

It is the first time in eight years that City have reached the third qualifying round, and with up to 400 fans allowed into Bridge Road at Histon, where they play their home games, Nightingale is hopeful of getting to capacity.

“I’ve got every hope we will fill the 400. They are a very well supported football club, and we would expect them to bring quite a few fans down. And, with us flying the flag for teams in and around Cambridge, along with Royston, we’re hoping people will come out and support us. We’re sure it will be a great atmosphere and one that, like the Stowmarket game [in the first qualifying round], we will relish playing in front of.”

On the Cheshunt win, Nightingale added: “Cheshunt were a step higher and had started the season in good form.

“We were underdogs in that game. We watched them and had seen them a couple of times and felt the players we had in our group meant we could be effective against them.

“We’re more than capable of holding a good shape, frustrating opposition and hitting teams on the counter, it showed against Stowmarket and the same again on Saturday.

“We hit the bar, had a goal disallowed and had numerous chances. We do look quite strong defensively."

City are away to Coggeshall Town in the Isthmian League on Saturday (October 10).

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