Sudbury boss Andrews shooting for the stars before crunch FA Cup tie

·3-min read

AFC Sudbury boss Rick Andrews hopes the next time they face FA Cup opponents St Albans City it will be in the National League South writes Alec McQuarrie.

The Suds travel to Hertfordshire for a second round qualifying clash on Saturday, looking for a repeat of last season’s shock win over Dartford which saw them reach the first-round proper for the first time in 20 years.

Andrews knows that the odds are stacked against his side once again, but the Suffolk club are riding a wave of optimism and currently sit top of the Pitching In Isthmian League North.

The Yellows boss was awarded the division’s manager of the month award for August and was decidedly bullish when asked for his vision for the club.

“We’re hoping to take AFC Sudbury to St Albans City level in the long term, 100%. There’s no point being in it if you’re not ambitious,” said Andrews.

“I’ve never done anything where I don’t think I have a chance of winning something. The club has got great infrastructure in place and we’re adding to that this year.

Joshua Stokes celebrates after scoring a brace against Bury Town / Credit: Clive Pearson
Joshua Stokes celebrates after scoring a brace against Bury Town / Credit: Clive Pearson

“There’ll be an announcement very shortly about some further stuff going on which is huge. It gives the club great stability.

“This season our target is definitely promotion. I think we’ve got a squad together that is capable of that. We’ve got players that have played higher than this level.

“If we can keep our squad together then I fancy our chances.”

As for their FA Cup chances, St Albans City are two tiers above the visitors and boast a historic cup run of their own last year.

The Saints also welcomed the TV cameras when they reached the second round for the first time since 1996, taking on fellow Hertfordshire side Boreham Wood after beating eventual League Two champions Forest Green Rovers in the first round.

But after Sudbury’s heroics in last season’s fourth qualifying round, coming back from a goal down to knock out heavy favourites Dartford 3-1, Andrews knows what it takes to mastermind an upset.

“I think sometimes you take the FA Cup for granted in the sense that you don’t realise what you’ve achieved," added Andrews.

"Playing Colchester live on the telly was incredible. I really enjoyed that and that allowed us to have more funds.

“Did I want to draw St Albans City away from home? Not really. But hopefully we’ll come and give a good account of ourselves and on the day you just never know.

“It’s like when we played Dartford at home in the fourth qualifying round last year. They were flying in the National League South, top of the league, banging goals in and we set up a certain way and frustrated them.

“We could probably play them another 20 times and not win once, but everything aligned for whatever reason that day.”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/