Lowestoft Town chief eager for FA Cup progress

Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming admits he is looking for his side to embark on an FA Cup run this season to give the club a financial boost.

The Trawlerboys face Hemel Hempstead in the second qualifying round of English football's most famous cup competition at Crown Meadow this afternoon (kick-off 3pm) and with �4,500 on offer for the side that emerges victorious, Fleming is keen on making progress.

'It's obviously a prestigious competition and everyone wants to go as far as we can,' he said. 'We know we're not going to win it but it can be a bit of a cash cow for clubs and we want to go as far as we possibly can.

'We've been to the first round proper before and that's the minimum we're looking to do again.'

Lowestoft would face two more qualifying rounds before reaching that target if they win today and they are heavy favourites to overcome Hemel Hempstead, who have endured a nightmare start to their Southern League season, culminating in Colin Payne's decision to leave the club as boss.


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They are currently on the lookout for a new manager but Fleming insisted the Blues will not be taking them lightly.

'We're expecting a tough game,' added the former Norwich City defender. 'But the lads have set a standard over the past week or so which we want them to maintain. If they can do that then we are more than a match for anyone at this level.'

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Scott Mitchell is a doubt with the thigh strain that saw him hobble off against East Thurrock United on Tuesday evening although Greg Crane is a ready-made replacement to step in alongside Sam Gaughran at the heart of the defence.

Matt Nolan, who also missed the win in midweek, is looking to shrug off a groin complaint while the match will also come too soon for Dale Cockrill despite the midfielder taking a full part in training recently.

One man that is likely to start is Joe Francis, scored his first goals of the season in the win at Carshalton last weekend and Fleming has been impressed by the winger's attitude this season.

'It was good for Joe Francis to get a couple of goals under his belt and to be fair to him he came back in pre-season and looked really sharp and has carried that into this campaign.

'Some people maybe saw that us bringing Chris Henderson in from Bury meant that Joe's place was under threat but that was never the case as Henderson can play on either wing. We've got competition for places in every position and that can only help players produce their best, as Joe did at Carshalton.'

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