FA Cup action returns to St James Park on Saturday with the visit of Bostik Premier side Billericay Town. This is the final qualifying round before league teams enter the draw for the first round which will be made on Monday evening.
Saints came away from last Saturday’s last gasp defeat at York City frustrated that such a strong performance should earn no points reward. The result saw York move up to 6th with Saints in 5th.
A 4-1 home win over Braintree Town took Kevin Wilkin’s men into this 4th qualifying round while opponents Billericay overcame Hungerford Town in a replay.
The Blues are owned and managed by high profile Glenn Tamplin. Tamplin stepped in in December 2016 and the club has rarely been out of the headlines since. The recruitment of former Premier League players Paul Konchevsy, Jamie O’Hara and Jermaine Pennant into step 3 football raised eyebrows as did the reported sacking then re-instating of cheer-leaders allegedly for reasons that caught the imagination of the tabloids.
But Billericay are riding high after eight straight league wins and will come into this game full of confidence and eager to reach the FA Cup first round for the fourth time in the club’s history. The last time was in the 2007-8 season when they eventually went out against Swansea City.
‘Ricay have played in Conference South and are perhaps best known for winning the FA Vase on three occasions.
Brackley supporters have become accustomed to FA Cup success with two second round appearances and a first round exit in the last four seasons. Nobody present on that Monday night will ever forget Saints’ 4-3 extra time win over League One Gillingham last season and of course Jimmy Armson’s hat-trick as St James Park witnessed a second cup victory over The Gills. If Brackley are in the hat for Monday’s draw nobody would be surprised if Gillingham came out yet again!
Several players were unavailable to Kevin last Saturday but close to the full squad should be available for this game.
Billericay has one special claim to fame that Brackley does not have – yet. And that is a song. Ian Dury’s 1977 hit about Billericay Dickie has become a classic with his lively lyrics still raising a smile 40 years later. In any case, the town’s football team is doing very well.
St James Park is expecting a big crowd, a close game and another big cup occasion.
If you cannot get to the game follow the action on the club website through Twitter and on BBC Radio Oxford with regular live updates starting at 2.30pm.