Aldershot Town hoping to avoid an FA Cup upset as they visit Southern League side Shortwood United this weekend
October 25th, 2011 - who could forget? Aldershot Town marching out in front of a packed EBB Stadium ready to lock horns with the mighty Manchester United for a place in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup. A prouder moment you could never imagine.
Now, exactly two years on, the Shots are back in the hunt for more cup glory – although this time they have an altogether different proposition lying in wait.
Victory over the Premier League champions that night would have seen Aldershot pull off one of the biggest cup shocks in the history of English football.
But now the boot is very much on the other foot for Andy Scott’s new brigade, who will be simply looking to avoid a huge FA Cup banana skin in the shape of Southern League minnows Shortwood United in the fourth qualifying round on Saturday (October 26).
Just like the Shots two years ago, the Gloucestershire outfit are getting ready to host the biggest game in their history, having enjoyed their best-ever run in the competition.
And Scott, who has been on the wrong end of a couple of FA Cup shocks as a player himself – notably against Kingstonian and Barrow while at Brentford – is taking nothing for granted.
“We’re in for a tough afternoon,” the Shots boss warned.
“They have done extremely well to get to this stage of the competition and earn themselves the biggest game in their history.
"They will be doing everything they can to knock us out and get to the first round.
“We’ve prepared for this like we would any other game. We’ve had someone go down to the ground to see the facilities so we know what we are walking into.
"The players are aware it’s a very different environment to what we are used to but we have to respect the challenge facing us and be as professional as we can possibly be.
“I’ve been in this situation a few times before, they will make it hard work for us and will put bodies on the line, so we will have to be organised.”
Jointly managed by John Evans and Alex Sykes, Wood have already won four ties to get through to this stage.
A 2-1 victory over Egham Town in the preliminary round was followed by a 5-1 win at Aylesbury United and then a pair of 1-0 away successes, at Skrill South Dorchester Town and Didcot Town, to secure their place in the fourth qualifying round for the first time.
With three wins from their eight matches this season, they currently lie 18th in the table – two points and one place above Aldershot’s neighbours Fleet Town – but that league position is somewhat misleading given they have up to three games in hand on their closest rivals.
The good news for Scott is that Glenn Morris returns in goal in place of Nick Pope, whose loan spell from Charlton Athletic has ended.
Joe Oastler should also shake off an ongoing niggle, but Scott will not risk Mark Molesley, who tweaked a hamstring in the 3-2 defeat by Alfreton on Saturday.
Scott has also been given permission from Millwall and Brentford to play loanees Jake Goodman and Manny Oyeleke respectively, although the club are still waiting to hear back from Portsmouth in respect of Adam Webster.
Admission to the 2,000-capacity Meadowbank ground is £10 for adults and £5 for concessions, with under-16s admitted free. There will be no advance ticket sales and no segregation enforced.
Shortwood have offered to reserve 20 seats for elderly and disabled Aldershot Town supporters. Those requiring a seat are invited to contact club secretary Bob Green on 01252 320211 or by email via email@example.com .