Wealdstone boss looking to rewrite history in FA Cup after drawing Colchester
PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 October 2015
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Gordon Bartlett is relishing the challenge of facing Colchester United once again in the FA Cup after his Wealdstone side were drawn against the League One side in the first round proper.
Stones beat Bognor Regis 2-1 in the fourth qualifying round at the Freebets.co.uk Stadium on Saturday and have been rewarded with a home tie against the Us, which will be played over the weekend of November 7.
Bartlett was Yeading’s manager when he last faced Colchester at the same stage of the competition back in November 1994. Then a Ryman League outfit, Yeading took the tie to a replay after drawing 2-2 at home, before being thumped 7-1 at Layer Road.
“I was hoping you weren’t going to mention that!” laughed Bartlett. “The lads at Yeading then did brilliantly to take it to a replay, but unfortunately for us Colchester’s class obviously shone through in the replay.
“For me now it’s all about Wealdstone and hopefully it’s another step taken by the club on our quest to climb back up the football pyramid and get back to where we were – in the Conference Premier – quite a few years ago.
“The tie keeps us on tenter-hooks for sure. All you can really ask for is a home draw against a professional club, and we got it so we can’t complain. If you’re going to have an upset it’s easier at home than it is away. It’s a long shot but it gives us a chance.
“We’ve been involved in a number of big games over the last few years. We put up a great fight against Rotherham back in 2009 but just came up short on the day (a 3-2 loss), and we’ve also been involved in play-off games and had the semi-final of the FA Trophy at this ground.
“So there’s been some great nights and afternoons at this ground since we’ve been here and wouldn’t it be nice to have a giant-killing.
“We’re grateful to get to the first round as it is, but when there’s an opportunity like this you’ve got to try and grasp it with both hands.”
The game will reunite Bartlett with two of his former players – Marvin Sordell and Gavin Massey, who enjoyed productive loan spells under his guidance at Wealdstone.
Bartlett added: “It’ll be great to catch up with those two lads. The banter’s already been flowing, with Marvin saying to Northy [Stones goalkeeper Jonathan North] on Twitter that he’s coming for him!
“That typifies the type of guys they are, so of course it will be good to catch up with them next weekend.”
Before that cup clash, Stones – who are on a 12-match unbeaten run – visit Conference South leaders Ebbsfleet United, who are likely to give them their sternest test so far this season.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game,” admitted Bartlett. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they are the best side in the league. They proved that when they came to our place in August [and won 2-1].
“We’ve got three big games coming up. We’ve got the FA Cup tie and a local derby [against Harrow Borough] in the County Cup too, so we’re looking forward to the next few weeks.”