Chichester City have appealed to local football fans to get behind their bid for a glorious FA Vase run.
Miles Rutherford’s team host Kent League side Canterbury City in the second round at Oaklands Park on Saturday.
They go into the tie in fine form and with a full squad available – but would like to see more people coming through the turnstile than they have been attracting of late.
Getting any further in the Vase will help put Chichester on the football map, with a place in the last 64 up for grabs this weekend.
City have already earned £1,725 for getting through three rounds of the Vase – a valuable sum for a club at their level – and will rake in another £750 if they can beat Canterbury.
It’s a 3pm kick-off at Oaklands on Saturday, with a replay in Kent next Tuesday or Wednesday if necessary, and Chi manager Rutherford hopes to see a big crowd cheering on his troops.
City have been going well in the Southern Combination premier division and sit fifth with nine wins and four draws from 14 games after last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Haywards Heath.
They set themselves up for the Vase game with a 3-1 Sussex Senior Cup second-round victory at home to Eastbourne Town, in which Scott Jones netted twice.
“We’re doing all right at the moment – we’re happy with how we’re going,” said Rutherford.
“We’ve got a strong squad and I am able to rotate people a little without weakening the team. We have everybody fit for Saturday and that gives me selection problems of the nice variety.
“One or two players will have to be left out and they will probably be disappointed at that, but that’s the way football is, especially now it’s such a squad game.”
Canterbury play in the same league as Sheppey and Whitstable - two of the teams Chichester have beaten to get this far - and Rutherford said he expected a tough encounter. Canterbury are in mid-table in the premier division of the Southern Counties East League.
“They’re 12th but are in good form and have only lost once in quite a number of games. Having played Sheppey and Whitstable, we know the sort of standard they are playing at and it is similar to the one we are used to in our league,” Rutherford said.
“I’ve not watched them – I prefer to concentrate on how my team are going to play rather than looking at the opposition and adapting, which doesn’t always work.
“It would be great for the players and for the club if we got through. If we can still be in the Vase at Christmas and when it goes national, the excitement will grow.
“It would be nice to see a big crowd there on Saturday. We’ve not been getting as many people to games as we would like but I think if people did come and watch, they’d be pleasantly surprised at the quality of football we are playing.”
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