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Worcester City aim to erase the pain of last season
12:00pm Friday 27th September 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
ELEVEN months ago, Worcester City saw their dream of reaching the FA Cup first round go up in smoke in heart-breaking fashion.
All set for a potentially lucrative fourth qualifying round replay against Bromley, City conceded a 90th-minute goal in Kent to go down 1-0.
As against Basingstoke in 2006, when they lost on penalties on the only other occasion City have reached the final qualifying stage since their second-round date against Huddersfield in 2005, it was a case of so near yet so far.
Tomorrow they set out on the road to Wembley again, the first time they will have done so at Aggborough, when they host Coventry Sphinx in the second qualifying round (3pm).
The obvious financial benefits aside — there is a £4,500 prize pot for the winners — City will want to make up for last year’s agony.
Worcester are favourites but manager Carl Heeley, whose side won 4-0 at Gornal Athletic at the same stage last season, has sounded a warning against taking lower-ranked sides for granted.
Sphinx, named due to their association with a car manufacturer in the 1940s, are eighth in the Midland Alliance and beat Tividale 2-1 in the previous round, as well as the same opponents in the FA Vase last weekend.
“It’s something we can enjoy but there’s no easy games. We’re playing a team from three divisions below, they deserve respect and will get it from us,” the City boss said.
“But, on the same score, if we’re professional then I expect us to win the game. I expect the players to be professional and we’ll make sure they are.”
Captain Tom Thorley is also keen to make amends for last season's Bromley defeat.
He said: “The FA Cup is always special when it comes around and it would be nice to have a bit of a run on the back of the disappointment last year especially.
“The mentality is that it’s just a game of football we need to go and win.
“We try and keep that in the back of our minds and just go out there to do a job and win whoever the opposition is.”
On the injury front, defensive-midfielder Richard Taundry could be fit having missed Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Telford and last Saturday’s 4-0 win over Workington with a groin complaint.
Midfielder Ebby Nelson-Addy has recovered from a groin problem.
However, right-back George Williams is still nursing an ankle injury.
Centre-half Shabir Khan asked to be withdrawn during the second-half at Telford due to low fitness levels having only played one match since August 24.
“He felt he would have cost us if he’d stayed on,” Heeley added.