Flourmen and Ar Tarn set for an opening cup clash

James Mallows' newly-promoted Whitworth side open their season with a tough FA Cup clash against Desborough Town this weekend
James Mallows' newly-promoted Whitworth side open their season with a tough FA Cup clash against Desborough Town this weekend

The Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round marks the start of the new season this weekend.

And the eye-catching tie on a local scale sees Whitworth taking on Desborough Town at London Road.

The Flourmen were promoted to the United Counties League Premier Division after a fine season saw them finish as runners-up in Division One last time out.

But boss James Mallows has conceded it has been a tricky summer as they gear up for a new campaign in the top-flight.

“We have kept everyone but we are going to have eight missing at the start of the season due to weddings and holidays and things like that,” Mallows said.

“It will make it difficult but there are some lads who will get an opportunity to impress.

“We have tried to bring players in but it seems some players lack a bit of ambition to play at a higher level and would rather play further down for the sake of £20.

“It’s not been an easy summer but I don’t doubt that we will give a good account of ourselves and we will be doing all we can to get through, although we know it will be very hard against a good side.”

Desborough boss Chris Bradshaw has also kept the majority of his squad that did so well to finish fourth in the Premier Division last season.

But he expects their first game and the whole campaign to be tough.

“We played Whitworth twice last season and it was a very tough game against them in the FA Vase and I expect it to be like that again this weekend,” Bradshaw said.

“We have lost a couple of experienced players with Dan Grainger wanting to spend more time with his young family and Mark Redding because of a bad injury.

“We have brought in two or three and we still have the majority of the squad so I am confident we can have a good season.

“It’s going to be a tough year. I would say there is a big six in the Premier Division this season and we aren’t one of them but we will be aiming to finish amongst them.”

Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Wellingborough Town will earn a home preliminary round tie with AFC Rushden & Diamonds if they win at Fakenham Town.

Rothwell Corinthians travel to Swaffham Town while Raunds Town, who opened their UCL Division One campaign with a 2-1 success at Bourne Town last weekend, host Premier Division side Yaxley.

The UCL Division One season also gets fully under way tomorrow (Saturday) with Thrapston Town, Stewarts & Lloyds and Irchester United all on the road at Bugbrooke, Lutterworth Town and Oakham United respectively.

Rushden & Higham United take on Lutterworth Athletic at Hayden Road while Burton Park Wanderers entertain Blackstones.