FA Cup: Village team Hartley Wintney set for big day

Hartley Wintney

Hartley Wintney manager Ben Dillon is worried that nerves may get the better of his side as they try to reach the first round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The club, who play in the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League, take on Daventry Town in the fourth qualifying round.

It is already the furthest the club have been in their 116-year history.

"This is the biggest day in our careers and hopefully nerves don't get the better of us," Dillon told BBC Surrey.

The likes of Wolves, Coventry City, Portsmouth and Sheffield United all await them in the draw for the first round if they can get past Daventry on Saturday.

And FA Cup fever has gripped the Hampshire village, which has a population of just 4,980.

"It's pretty nerve-wracking and it's only just sunk in," he said.

"It's good for the club and the village are loving it. The local bakery are making cakes for the day and all the shops in the village are shutting to come down and support us, so everyone is buzzing.

"This has put us on the map. We are doing well in the league and cup, so everyone is over the moon.

"It means everything to the village. It's pretty mad to be honest, we're 90 minutes away and you never know. Maybe we can scrape through.

"They are beatable, we're confident and you never know what can happen in the FA Cup."

The club have played eight games on their FA Cup journey to date, earning prize money of £12,500 - "a hell of a lot of money," according to Dillon.

Goalkeeper Craig Atkinson is the man tasked with keeping out Daventry, who are also at the final qualifying stage for the first time.

"We are all buzzing about it," he said.

"Saturday we will be nervous, but once we're on the pitch, we'll be all right.

"It's a big thing for us. No one has got to the first round in their playing career, so it's a massive thing for me, the boys and the club to be 90 minutes away from the first round proper."