Gloucester City (a) Preview Part II
After a postponement on the morning of the first match, we finally get it on with our non-league opposition tonight at Cheltenham Town's Whaddon Road after a morale boosting win against Shrewsury Town on Saturday.
The mood amongst myself and my fellow Orient fans has improved after Saturday's win against The Shrews from Shropshire. We scored a goal, we won and probably the most pleasing, we put together a decent performance for once.
We also now go into tonight's game with Gloucester knowing our second round opponents. If we beat the Blue Square North Tigers, Alfreton Town of the Blue Square Premier await in the second round. On paper, an easy route to the Third Round of the FA Cup and potentially a boost to the clubs coffers. However, it would be very naive of me to think that we are already in the bag for the Third Round alongside Manchester United, Manchester City and the other Premier League giants. For this is the FA Cup and we know that shocks occur in almost every round so we have to be careful not to underestimate our opponents from Gloucester this evening.
Our opponents tonight are a side I know very little about but since being drawn against the non-league side, I have taken time to read up about them. In 2007, the club and City of Gloucester suffered a huge flood and since then the club has departed their home city and lived a nomadic five years playing home games at three different venues. City now reside at Whaddon Road, Cheltenham and have done so since promotion to the Blue Square North in 2010. Despite the struggles of playing in a different city, this doesn't have seemed to have caused problems for the First Team as they had won their five previous games at 'home' before Saturday's defeat by Maidenhead United in the FA Trophy.
Having won on Saturday and played well in the process, I wouldn't change the starting XI ahead of tonight's game but Russell Slade may be tempted to make changes ahead of Saturday's long journey to Carlisle United.
Kevin Lisbie returned to the squad on Saturday and you could tell that he had been missed. The performance put in by the experienced front man showed class and was worthy of the man of the match award at the final whistle. Whether two games in such a short space of time is beyond Lisbie at this stage in his comeback I'm not sure but his level of experience should see him prove too much for the non-league side.
Tonight's game could be a stage for the fringe players such as Mathieu Baudry and even Michael Symes make an appearance. The game tonight could also be a big enough stage for the return of Jamie Jones. Jones has struggled with injury for 18 months and has made just six appearances in that time but has found himself on the bench in recent weeks. I doubt I would risk Jones but Slade may be prepared, however, I don't want to underestimate our opponents.
As I've mentioned, this is a fantastic opportunity for the club to earn some money. We should provide too much for our opponents tonight and Alfreton in the 2nd Round and if we manage to beat those we will recieve two rounds worth of winning money, worth £45,000 and then dream of a money earning tie away at a Premier League club. But we have faced non-league opposition before and been beaten so we have to remain professional and respect our opponents, both tonight and hopefully against Alfreton too.
So come on Orient, please don't mess it up and allow my mates the opportunity to rib me for the next few months.