Appleby tells his Wisbech Town players to prepare for an FA Cup battle

BOSS Steve Appleby has told his Wisbech Town players to prepare for an FA Cup battle on Saturday.

The Fenmen showed class to beat a physical Haverhill Rovers side 3-0 on Tuesday, with Dubi Ogbonna bagging a brace and Chris Bacon also on target.

And Appleby is expecting another feisty clash on Saturday as United Counties League side Desborough Town visit the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium for their FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie.

“Desborough are a big, strong side,” he said. “I’m pleased we had the physical game this week to prepare us for them.

“It was very feisty on Tuesday. We had to earn the right to win and, to be honest, we were better than them.

“Last year, we would have got dragged into that physical battle and stopped playing our football. We would probably have gone down to 10 men as well.

“We’ve learnt to keep our heads now - and we’re up and running.”

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If the Fenmen can see off their first two opponents in the FA Cup, they will be rewarded with a home tie against Kettering Town in the first qualifying round.

Appleby said: “As a manager and a player you love the FA Cup because of the romance and the spectacle. It’s always nice to go as far as you can because you come up against some good clubs.

“We’ve seen the draw and, although we shouldn’t look too far ahead, we could play Kettering. That would be a massive game as they have a big following.”

Wisbech’s Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title challenge started with a stutter on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Walsham-le-Willows.

The Fenmen, who had enjoyed one of the best pre-season campaigns in their history, went ahead through an own-goal but Walsham hit back in the second half.

“There was a lot of expectation on Saturday,” said Appleby. “Everybody expected us to turn up and roll them over like we had done in pre-season but that was never going to happen in the real stuff.

“Deep down, I honestly didn’t think we would win that game. I’ve seen it so many times when you’ve had such a good pre-season and then you don’t win that first match.

“Expectation can work against you sometimes and we need to take it one game at a time and keep our feet on the ground.”

Callum Reed and Simon Mowbray will be missing for Saturday’s cup clash. Midfielder Rogan McGeorge, who was taken to hospital with blurred vision after suffering a head injury in Tuesday’s game, is hoping to be fit.