SOME say the FA Cup has lost some of its magic but in the eyes of every local footballer and fan it is still the biggest competition they are likely to be involved in.
It all kicks off again this Saturday for both Wisbech Town and March Town and the added incentive for both teams is that if they win this weekend they will then face each other in the next round on September 3.
Both teams have been blessed with home ties and on paper perhaps Wisbech have the easier task against Division One Halstead while the Hares will be taking on Premier Division side Kirkley and Pakefield.
Wisbech boss Steve Appleby would just love a good run in the competition this season.
“All players love to do well in cup competitions and I was no different as a player,” said Appleby.
“The club as a whole want success in the cups. It means a lot to the fans and the players, and the chairman will be a happy man too as you can pick up some money each round.
“I am looking forward to next week’s game. On paper it is a game we should win but Halstead have started with a 6-0 win against Downham in the league and we will certainly not be underestimating them.”
Last season Wisbech beat St Andrews 5-0 before losing 1-0 to Nottinghamshire side Radcliffe Olympic and that defeat certainly did not go down well with Appleby as his side just did not perform on the day.
One player Wisbech will have to keep a close eye on is Halstead’s Reis Farley-Hearn who scored four goals in the opening day win.
March Town will be without in-form striker Stu Anderson when they take on Kirkley and Pakefield at the GER.
Anderson, who has scored nine goals this summer, is on holiday along with central defender Gav Cook.
Hares boss Brett Whaley is well aware of the prize if his side wins at the first hurdle and said: “We are up against a team from a higher division but in the past we seemed to have raised our game against better opposition.
“We did well against Whitton on Saturday and if we can raise our game again on our own ground, who knows. Obviously it is another game against Wisbech that everyone wants but we have to win our game first.
“It is not ideal to be missing Stu Anderson but I would rather he was on holiday for this game than a league game. Ash Brand is nearing full fitness and we have Andy Waite to come in as well, so we are not short of strikers.”
Kirkley started the season with a 3-0 defeat against Mildenhall on Saturday and last season finished in 12th place in the Premier Division.
Unfortunately if both local sides win, goalkeeper Lea Jordan, who left Wisbech for March in the summer, will miss the tie following his red card on Saturday.
March are in action tonight at Godmanchester in Ridgeons League One and Whaley said: “It is always a tough physical game there.”
Whaley has brought in two players on loan from Soham Town with Scott Davies making his debut last Saturday as a second half substitute, and also Tom Norton.
New signing Kyle Nolan could be out for a few weeks with an ankle injury. “We are waiting on the results of a scan this week and will know more then,” added Whaley.