Eastbourne Borough set hearts on another lengthy FA Cup journey

All roads lead to Wembley – and Eastbourne Borough manager Danny Bloor is working to ensure that Hanwell Town will not bring an abrupt end to his side’s FA Cup journey.

Danny Bloor after Borough's 2-2 draw at Hemel / Picture: Lydia Redman
Danny Bloor after Borough's 2-2 draw at Hemel / Picture: Lydia Redman

The second qualifying round draw awarded them a trip tomorrowto Hanwell, who play in the Ryman South Central – two steps below Borough. Their West London ground is a short journey from Wembley itself. And at whatever stage of the FA Cup, an away tie against lower-ranked opponents can always present a challenge – acknowledged by Bloor.

“In the Cup, status is irrelevant and you start as equals. This will be a huge day for Hanwell Town,” he said.

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“They will fancy their chance, and we totally respect that. We will have done our homework and analysis in exactly the way we would prepare for Dartford or Dorking. It is a game which, if we play properly, we will win. If we don’t, we’ll be left with egg on our face.”

Hanwell, who share Newcastle United’s iconic black and white stripes, were founded in 1920 by a bunch of exiled Geordies and the links have survived for a century at supporters’ level. The Town - or the Toon? - currently sit in mid-table in Ryman South Central.

Bloor will surely be looking to repeat Borough’s exploits last season, reaching a televised first round Proper tie with Blackpool.

“Oh no, this time we want to go one better! Let’s aim for the second round proper! But, whichever the round, the real sense of excitement will come with FA Cup football in front of real live supporters. They missed out last season – and we sorely missed them.” Borough head to Hanwell having left Bloor unimpressed with their display in a 2-2 National South draw at Hemel last weekend. Read a report on page 70.

The Sports are edging clear of the injuries which had blighted Bloor’s early-season plans. Centre-back Jake Elliott played his first full 90 minutes last Saturday at Hemel, Jack Currie made an impressive return from illness and Josh Oyinsan is close to full fitness. Only defender Steve James remains a doubt.

If the tie does not produce a winner, the sides will meet again next Tuesday night (at Priory Lane.