It might not be quite the dream draw that Simon Weaver wanted, but a trip to the English Riviera to face Torquay United for the second time in seven years is still a plum one – according to the Harrogate Town boss.
To book an FA Cup first-round clash at Plainmoor on November 3, Town – who heartbreakingly lost 6-5 to the Gulls on penalties in a replay at Wetherby Road after drawing in Devon in November 2005 – must first see off Conference Premier strugglers Hyde at home this evening.
A late strike from former Bradford City winger Leon Osborne earned Town a second bite at the cherry and ensured their name was in the hat for the first-round draw at Wembley on Sunday following a 1-1 fourth-qualifying round draw the previous day.
Their reward, if they get past Hyde, by way of a 640-mile round trip to League Two outfit Torquay, could have been better, but boss Weaver still sees plenty of positives.
He said: “To be honest, I would have been thrilled with Sheffield United at home as I was a Wednesdayite growing up. To play the Blades would have been phenomenal.
“But hopefully, you never know, if we get past the replay and the first round, we might still have a chance!”
On the pairing with Torquay, Weaver said: “The fact that Torquay is one of the furthest clubs away adds to the excitement because it is a long trip for an overnight stop, which our players are not used to.
“Obviously, we have history with Torquay and although the previous tie was before my time here, I know they still talk about it at the club.
“It adds to the motivation to get through against Hyde as it is an opportunity for a lot of the lads to play against a league side.
“It will be time away from home and it will be a novelty. To be honest, it could be a game where we could have a real good go with nothing to lose.
“It’s not like going away to Sheffield United, which although a huge draw would have been really difficult. But Torquay, if we get through, will be something to look forward to.
“It’s only the third time we have been in the hat for the first round proper and we’ve already faced Torquay in earlier years, so it’s a bit bizarre.
“But we have a big job still to do against Hyde and if we get through that, then fantastic.”
On Saturday’s display, which saw Town force a replay after Phil Jevons’ early penalty had given Hyde the lead, Weaver added: “It was painful as we kept knocking on the door and playing some good stuff. We perhaps lacked a little bit of edge from the week before, but how many times do you see that in football after banging six goals past a team!
“It was a different type of game. Hyde are a good team and had a passing approach from the back. we dropped a little bit deep in the first half and learned from it in the second – we changed it tactically and got in their faces a little bit, which is what we do well.
“We created chances and it was a big relief to eventually force a replay.”
West Riding County Cup holders Guiseley host the side they beat in last season’s Valley Parade final, Bradford Park Avenue, in a round-two clash at Nethermoor this evening.
Farsley, whose superb six-match winning streak abruptly ended in a 3-1 weekend loss to Cammell Laird, have the chance to hit back tonight at home to Curzon Ashton, somewhat of a bogey side for Neil Parsley’s side of late.
Elsewhere, in Evo-Stik First Division North, a basement scrap sees Garforth host Ossett Albion, while Harrogate Railway, Ossett Town and Wakefield welcome Ramsbottom, Goole and Mossley respectively.
In the Premier, bottom-placed Frickley entertain Eastwood, while in the NCEL Premier, Tadcaster can move up to joint fourth if they beat visiting Long Eaton.
Liversedge are at home to Heanor, while in Division One, Albion Sports go to Worsbrough Bridge.
All games are subject to the weather.