SALFORD City will tomorrow host an intriguing, and a potentially historic, FA Cup tie when they entertain Bradford Park Avenue at Moor Lane (KO 15:00 BST).
The Ammies have never before ventured beyond the competition’s Third Qualifying Round, having last bowed out at that stage to Blyth Spartans in 2009/10 following a replay.
And although the two teams are separated in terms of pyramid-tiers, Salford’s current Evo-Stik Premier Division position of sixth is effectively only ten places below Avenue’s 18th in the Vanarama National League North.
Taking on a side from the league above in M7 should hold no fear for City, who beat Curzon Ashton in the previous round a fortnight previously.
The visitors, for their part, will know not to take their task lightly, having edged through to this stage of the Cup following a last-minute victory at Northern League Division One outfit, Consett.
That said, Avenue’s recent League form is impressive. They are unbeaten in five matches, and have kept clean sheets for four of those – most recently when beating Brackley Town by a single goal last weekend.
The Ammies have warmed up between Cup-ties with two hard-fought league victories. Their 3-1 defeat of Halesowen Town ensured a first maximum-points haul of the season at Moor Lane, while the subsequent 1-0 win at Frickley was achieved despite having been reduced to nine men in the second half.
Interest in the tie is further fuelled by the contrasting histories of the two clubs. The Ammies – who still carry the nickname derived from their all-conquering amateur days – have gradually worked their way up the pyramid. Bradford, however, enjoyed Football League status until 1970, before folding four years later and then reforming.
There has been one previous FA Cup meeting between the sides, with the honours on that occasion going to Salford courtesy of a single goal at the Horsfall Stadium in 2000. The sides are not complete strangers in terms of league contests either, having competed together in the North West Counties Division One between 1992 and 1995.
Avenue’s manager, Martin Drury, remains tight-lipped about his likely squad for the tie, while City will be encouraged after Danny Webber returned from injury to play, and score, in the 2-3 Manchester Premier Cup reverse against Ashton United on Tuesday night.
Stockport County fans, who are without a game of their own to enjoy over the weekend, may well find plenty to be said for getting along to this one. The hosts include two former Hatters, in Tunji Moses and Stephen O’Halloran, among their number. And, similarly, Paul Marshall and Danny Schofield could both feature for Avenue.
Salford City: J Lynch, Howson, C Lynch, O’Halloran, Smalley, Burton, Clark, Giverin, Hardcastle, Kebbie, Mwasile, Moses, Poole, Stopforth, Allen, Hulme, Webber, Itela, Dootson.
Bradford Park Avenue: Stewart, Mather, Pursehouse, Price, Qualter, Priestley, Ainge, Burgin, Dean, Turner, Howarth, P Marshall, Schofield, St Juste, Potts, McDonald, Chilaka, R Marshall, Walker, King, Walshaw.
By Gareth Evans
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