ALTRINCHAM will face League One side Barnsley at Moss Lane in the Emirates FA Cup first round on Saturday afternoon (KO 15:00 GMT).

The visitors from south Yorkshire won the famous competition in 1912 and were semi-finalists as recent as 2008, losing to eventual winners Cardiff City.

However, National League outfit Alty will hope they can build on their reputation as giant-killers in the competition by beating the Tykes to reach Monday’s second round draw.

The Robins have knocked out 16 league clubs in the past, a record for a non-league side. They have also advanced further than anyone else at their level, reaching the fourth round during the 1985-86 season.

Pedigree in the competition will allow the supporters to dream. However, neither club is in a rich vein of form, having both endured a poor start to the season.

Barnsley have lost their last seven league games, leaving boss Lee Johnson under pressure and the club struggling to avoid the dreaded drop to League Two.

In those matches, they have conceded 15 goals and scored only six, which has left them two places from bottom of the League One table.

Meanwhile, Altrincham have managed to stay out of the relegation zone in non-league’s top tier and are unbeaten in four games. However, they have only won one of those matches – their 1-0 victory over Chester in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Sitting 19th in the table for the last six weeks, the Moss Lane faithful will be hoping their FA Cup campaign can continue to provide a distraction from their indifferent league form.

Their opponents will be boosted by the potential return of midfielders Connor Hourihane and Marley Watkins, who have recovered from injury and have scored important goals for the Tykes this season.

Altrincham have already sold 2,000 tickets and are hoping a record crowd will create an atmosphere reminiscent of their FA Cup glory days.

The two sides will both be searching for some FA Cup magic to take them into the next round. But who will the football gods favour at Moss Lane on Saturday?

Provisional Squads:

Altrincham:  Deasy (GK), Sinnott, Havern, Moult, Griffin, Leather, Richman, O’Keefe, Lawrie, Reeves, Clee, Heathcote, Bowerman, Williams, Davis, Crowther, Swift, Stouppis.

Barnsley:  Davies (GK), Wabara, Roberts, Nyatanga, Smith, Mawson, Scowen, Isgrove, Pearson, Smith, Winnall, Bree, Jackson, Townsend, Maris, Abbott, Wilkinson, Templeton, Hourihane, Watkins.

Referee:  Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)

By Max Merrill
@MaxTMRadio

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