Sutton United manager Matt Gray is expecting a difficult tie against local non-league side Horsham in the second round of the FA Cup this weekend.
The U’s welcome non-league opponents to Gander Green Lane for the second time this campaign, after their 2-1 victory against AFC Fylde.
Visitors Horsham find themselves with a second life in the cup at the expense of Barnsley, who fielded an ineligible player and were disqualified from the contest following their victory over the Isthmian Premier League side in a replay.
Sutton boss Gray attended that game, telling club media:
“Barnsley took an early lead and got a second and third within half an hour. My attention quickly turned to Barnsley thinking that’s who we have in the second round.
“We now face Horsham, for me a totally different type of cup tie. They’re doing really well in the league, gone to Barnsley and got a draw up there. We’re under no illusions that this is a very tough game.”
The Yellows come into the contest unbeaten in their last four home games, having played out 1-1 draws in each of their last four league matches.
Horsham sit ninth in the Isthmian League Premier Division, and the game against Sutton will be the sixth opponent the Hornets have faced in this year’s FA Cup.
They have beaten Leatherhead, Marlow, Hanworth Villa, Dorking Wanderers and played twice against the Tykes to get to the second round.
The 42-year-old Sutton head coach feels that the circumstances around Horsham’s progression to this stage will not play a part in the tie. He continued:
“It’s a big game for both sides. They’ll be desperate with that big carrot dangling in the next round. They’ll be right at it, I’m sure. There’ll be a real FA Cup feel about the tie.
“The preparation doesn’t overly change, we’ll do exactly what we’d do for any other league game. Gameplan wise, it would change a touch, but that’s no different if you’re playing a League One, League Two or whatever team you’re playing.”
Gray’s side will have been a little shocked when the news came of Barnsley’s removal from the FA Cup. Whilst on paper, it’s an easier tie, the freedom that Horsham could bring with nothing to lose after being reinstated could cause issues for the U’s. Added with the spice of a local derby match, the game could have the potential for an upset.
Sutton will have the support of their home crowd to spur them on and should have enough minerals to grind out a result and secure a spot in the third round where a potential Premier League tie could await them. Last time out they did superbly to get a point away at Crewe Alexandra but another injury, this time to Louis John, is beginning to stretch Sutton’s squad more and more.