The Emirates FA Cup is back with a bang this weekend, as the First Round Proper kicks off with Southend United’s trip to Millwall on Friday night.
But this year’s draw has thrown up a host of intriguing all Non-League ties. And with the Ladbrokes News team buzzing with excitement ahead of the weekend’s action, we’ve put together a preview of the battles between the competition’s biggest underdogs.
Dartford v Sutton United
The Darts may be on good form in the National League North, but Sutton are unbeaten in their last five in all competitions in the tier above – including a 4-1 demolition of Woking. Back the visitors for victory at 23/20.
Dagenham & Redbridge v AFC Halifax Town
With four wins and two draws in their last six home games, the Daggers look likely to cut through their latest Emirates FA Cup visitors, just as they did against Wealdstone in the Fourth Qualifying Round. Boasting the likes of #VardyVerdict star Oliver Hawkins and Jordan Maguire-Drew up front, the hosts are a force to be reckoned with.
Westfields v Curzon Ashton
The lowest-ranked team left in the competition, Hereford-based Westfields FC play their football in the Midland League Premier Division. But despite the three-division gap between this pair, Westfields could well produce an upset, having won their last six Emirates FA Cup games on home soil.
Stockport County v Woking
County may ply their trade a league below the Surrey outfit, but their recent good form – combined with away woes – suggests it’s the Edgeley Park outfit who’ll be the happier after this one. They’re on course for a fifth win in six, while Woking’s run of 10 away games without victory looks set to continue.
Taunton Town v Barrow
The Somerset outfit have done fantastically well to reach this stage, knocking out relative giants like National League South side Hampton & Richmond Borough along the way. But this looks likely to be a comfortable win for the visitors, who are now unbeaten in 14.
Whitehawk v Stourbridge
The Hawks have striker Ryan Connolly to thank for their place in the First Round Proper, following his winner at Welling United in the last round, preceded by a brace against East Thurrock United.
They’re on course for another hard-fought contest here though, with visitors Stourbridge winning at high-flying Dover Athletic at this stage last season.
Braintree Town v Eastbourne Borough
The Iron impressed with their steely determination last season, reaching the National League play-offs – but this season they’re mired in the relegation zone. Visitors Eastbourne boast one of Non-League’s best strikers in Elliott Romain. Can he guide the visitors to victory? At 14/5, they could be well worth a flutter.
Lincoln City v Altrincham
If this weren’t the Emirates FA Cup, we’d have this one down as a home banker. Lincoln are the National League’s top scorers with 36 goals in 18, while Alty are on a miserable run a league below. But in this competition, you just never know.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing