All eyes on Bracknell Town as FA Cup takes centre stage

Bracknell Town players salute their supporters. Photo: John Leakey.
35

Enter your email address to receive regular Berkshire football updates in your inbox

The eyes of English football will be on a small corner of Berkshire on Monday evening.

In a true David versus Goliath contest. Bracknell Town take on League One high-fliers Ipswich in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup at Bottom Meadow in Sandhurst.

The Robins will be bidding to cause one of the biggest upsets this competition has ever seen. They have nothing to lose, and all the pressure will be on the Tractor Boys.

They certainly won’t be allowed to stay in first or second gear by a Bracknell side who will be energised up to the limit.

As chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse says: “No one will be expecting us to beat a League One club, but in the FA Cup anything is possible. There have been plenty of upsets in the past.

“Ipswich won’t like coming here. We have a nice ground, but the dressing rooms will be a lot smaller than they’re used to and the fans will be right on top of them; they’re not going to like that.”

“If we had 11 Joe Grants I would be very happy.”

Bracknell Town's Joe Grant. Photo: Neil Graham.
Bracknell Town’s Joe Grant. Photo: Neil Graham.

One of Bracknell’s main threats to Ipswich is likely to come from speedy forward Joe Grant, who is fast regaining the form that he showed on a regular basis before a dreadful ACL injury left him on the sidelines for a year.

“He has had a really tough 12 months, “ said joint managers Carl Withers and Jamie McClurg.

“We know him well, having played with him, and he is a very good friend off the pitch.

“To be able to go in and manage him again and help him and give him that start (following his long lay off) that he has been working towards, it was quite a proud moment for me and Dodds.

“He has rewarded us as he has gone out and has been incredible and I think there is still more to come to get to where he needs to be. He is getting stronger with every game.

“We are very lucky to have him. He’s a local lad, wears his heart on his sleeve and will give you everything.

“If we had 11 Joe Grants I would be very happy.”

Go-go Joe has been quick to get back on the scoring trail, bagging two goals in the 6-0 league win over North Leigh and another brace in the 8-0 thrashing of Windsor in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup after coming off the bench.

“He is flying at the moment and hope he can continue that form,” added Withers.

Carl Withers. Photo: Neil Graham.
Carl Withers. Photo: Neil Graham.

He and McClurg will have to cross three players off their selection list as on-loan striker Liam Ferdinand, recent signing Elliot Legg and Sean Fraser are all cup-tied.

Bracknell are not expecting Ipswich to field their strongest possible side that sees them sit second in League 1.

“We think it will be a mixture of first-teamers, fringe players and maybe some youth team players,” said Withers.

“But no matter who they bring down, they are coming to a ground where the players will be very close to the fans and it might be hostile.

“I don’t think they will have any complaints about the pitch at Bottom Meadow as it is in fantastic condition.”

Jamie McClurg went to check out the former UEFA Champions (1981) and 1978 FA Cup winners when they played at Charlton Athletic last Saturday, a game that saw the Tractor Boys concede two goals in stoppage time and draw 4-4. Had they held on to the lead, they would have leapfrogged Plymouth Argyle into top spot.

Withers commented: “Will we have learned a lot from seeing them at Charlton, probably not, but you never know. At least we have some idea how they go about things at set pieces and corners.”

The game is being shown live on ITV 4 much to the pleasure of fans of the Tractor Boys. There will probably be less than 400 of them packed into the ground which has a capacity of just under 2,000 when normally around 2,000 would attend an away league game.

Spectators are being urged to arrive as early as possible with the gates open from 4pm.

Car parking is very restricted with the Memorial Ground car park reserved for staff and media, but there should be street parking within walking distance of the ground.

Sandhurst is renowned for producing champion-winning tug-of-war teams, but now will it become famous for an FA Cup giant-killing act?

“It’ll be great to go back on Monday night and see the boys. I am looking forward to it.”

Bracknell Town in the FA Cup

Football in Berkshire has a Breaking News WhatsApp Channel where we’ll send you updates on all the latest football news from the Royal County. You can join Breaking Berkshire Football News by clicking here

Upcoming fixtures

There are currently no fixtures scheduled.

To make sure you don't miss out on all the latest news, and fixture releases subscribe to Football in Berkshire here.

Subscribe to the newsletter

Enter your email address to receive regular Berkshire football updates in your inbox

2 responses

  1. Having gone through the injury process with Joe, to read this article makes the Grant family really emotional.
    Such kind words.
    Joe never once moaned, cried, dropped his head during his injury rehabilitation.
    He’s an inspiration not just to us to anyone who has had a serious footballing injury.

    Joes motto is always be positive, that will get you through

  2. Having gone through the injury process with Joe, to read this article makes the Grant family really emotional.
    Such kind words.
    Joe never once moaned, cried, dropped his head during his injury rehabilitation.
    He’s an inspiration not just to us to anyone who has had a serious footballing injury.

    Joes motto is always be positive, that will get you through

Leave a Reply

Search Football in Berkshire
FIB-Badgetransparent-dud.png