Why Bognor fans are watching Newport, Barnet, QPR and Brighton's FA Cup progress

Mickey Demetriou celebrates Newport's win over Leicester - now he has a replay at home to Middlesbrough to look forward to / Picture by Getty Images
Mickey Demetriou celebrates Newport's win over Leicester - now he has a replay at home to Middlesbrough to look forward to / Picture by Getty Images

Rocks fans will have a close eye on next week's FA Cup replays - to see whether they might have a whole former Rocks defence in the last 16 of the grand old competition.

There are still four players - all defenders - involved in this season's Cup with their current teams - and a couple of them have already gone much further than they could have dreamed.

Newport County defender Mickey Demetriou, a former Chichester College centre-half who captained bognor during a spell at Nyewood Lane, played 87 minutes as County forced a replay with Championship outfit Middlesbrough in a 1-1 draw in the fourth round at the Riverside on Saturday.

The Welsh side now have an added incentive heading into the return game at Rodney Parade next week, with the winners knowing a home tie against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City awaits.

Demetriou and Newport have already knocked one-time Premier League winners Leicester City out of this season's FA Cup - that after beating Leeds and taking Spurs to a Wembley replay last year.

Also enjoying the Cup limelight is former Rock Craig Robson, part of the Bognor team who reached the FA Trophy semi-finals against Grimsby three years ago.

Robson, who still comes back to Nyewood Lane to watch games now and then, now plies his trade at Barnet, who on Monday night drew 3-3 with Championship side Brentford to force a replay for the right to go to Swansea in the fifth round. Barnet beat Sheffield United in round three.

Eagle-eyed Rocks fans will probably have noticed who scored an own goal as QPR drew at Pompey in round four on Saturday - Joel Lynch, who had a loan spell at Bognor during his Brighton days. Lynch and the Hoops host Pompey in next Tuesday's replay for the right to host Watford in the last 16.

Last but not least is Lewis Dunk, a Rocks loanee a decade ago and now of course a regular in the Premier League with Brighton, who go to West Brom for their fourth-round replay, with the winners hosting Derby. Dunk recently said his loan spell at the Lane helped make him the player he is today.

It gives Bognor fans plenty of continued interest in the competition - it's just a shame it's now 23 years since they reached the 'proper' rounds themselves. Still, maybe next year...

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