Managed by Ian Deakin, a highly thought of former goalkeeper, Long Eaton United have put together a strong squad, with good competition for places. The boss being courted by suitors higher up the football pyramid, has so far remained loyal to the side he started the season with. A side that sees a couple of names immediately stick out to the Trinity faithful, Rod Orlando-Young and Reco Fyfe, both played latterly for the Holy Blues under Curtis Woodhouse. Though Orlando-Young has recently found himself on the side lines through injury, he is expected to be fit for this game against his former employers.
United play at Step Four, in the Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One East and have already played ten games this season, though only half of those fixtures have come in the league! Ahead of our game, Long Eaton have played only five league games. Of the other five games, four have come in this season's FA Cup, where they have defeated Sherwood Colliery after a replay, Quorn & Hednesford Town. They also most recently defeated Gresley Rovers in the FA Trophy. In the league their record stands at two wins, two draws and a defeat, putting them on eight points from their five games with a +1 goal difference.
Determined to progress in the competition Blues' boss Neal Bishop identified the threat posed by Saturday's opponents, "Long Eaton are a good team. I know the manager; I know some of the players. They'll be up for it. It'll be tough, it's another away game. But we go there wanting to win and with a desire to win. Look, it's a cup competition, and if you don't win you're out. It's a break from the league, it's a great competition."
Throwing caution to the wind, Bishop outlined the importance of taking each game as it comes: "I've said to the lads before it's a superb competition. I've had some of my best memories as a player in the FA Cup. I want these lads to progress and progress deep, as far as they can in this. It's going to be a tough game, make no doubts about it. They're a good team, got promotion last season and they're doing ok in the division below us. Every game's different so just because you've won last week doesn't mean we'll walk into Saturday and steamroll them, far from it. Every game is an individual occurrence and we'll enjoy the journey!"
Long Eaton United
That's 68 miles from the Northolme to Grange Park making this cup tie one of the shorter journeys of the season for Bish and Damo's Blue Army! Tickets are available on the turnstile at £9 for Adults, £7 for concessions and £3 for U16s - card payments are preferred but cash is accepted.
The car park is right by the ground and is free, but does get quite busy around an hour before kick-off, so please try and arrive in plenty of time to get parked up! Long Eaton United have a bar in the club house and Sky Sports, so Swansea v Hull will be on pre-match, I presume, followed by Tottenham v Leicester after the match. Visiting Trinity fans are welcome to enjoy the clubs hospitality as look forward to an afternoon of entertaining Emirates FA Cup action.
While the Holy Blues are in cup action, eight sides that have already fallen by the wayside, face off against one another. The full Pitching In Northern Premier League schedule is:
Belper Town vs Ashton United
Matlock Town vs Warrington Rylands
Stafford Rangers vs Radcliffe
Stalybridge Celtic vs Nantwich
Other Emirates FA Cup ties that involve NPL rival sides are:
Shildon vs South Shields
Whitby Town vs Marske Unjted
Hyde United vs Warrington Town
FC United vs Curzon Ashton
Blyth Spartans vs Guiseley
Stocksbridge Park Steels vs Marine
Prescot Cables vs Bamber Bridge
Lancaster City vs Bury AFC
Liversedge vs Chorley
Preview written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photos by Brian Murfield (@cc_seasider)