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Norwich United prepare for first FA Trophy tie in their history

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 October 2016

Jamie Speller, left, is set to return to action for Norwich United in the FA Trophy today. Photo: DENISE BRADLEY

Jamie Speller, left, is set to return to action for Norwich United in the FA Trophy today. Photo: DENISE BRADLEY

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Norwich United contest their first ever Buildbase FA Trophy tie when they entertain Tooting & Mitcham United in the preliminary round at Plantation Park this afternoon.

The Planters are eligible for the competition for the first time after their promotion to Ryman League Division One North, having competed in the FA Vase for the last 28 seasons.

After falling at the first hurdle in this season’s FA Cup, the Trophy takes on added importance for Steve Eastaugh’s team.

The Planters’ opponents are no strangers to the competition, reaching the quarter-finals in 1975-76 when they lost 1-0 to eventual winners Scarborough. Recent years have seen the Terrors struggle in the competition though going out at either the first or second hurdle in each of the last nine seasons.

Tooting go into today’s game on the back of two defeats, the latest of these last Saturday when they went down 2-0 at home to Hythe Town. Despite those two losses they sit in third place in Ryman League Division One South having won four of their six games on the road.

The Planters will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday night’s 1-0 home defeat to AFC Hornchurch. Jake Hallett will continue in goal with Andy Wilton suspended. The youngster, on an emergency loan deal from Norwich City, had an impressive debut with a couple of fine saves.

Defender Jamie Speller returns to the squad and it is hoped striker Joe Jackson will be available to return after injury.

The winner will host Southern Premier Division side Dunstable Town in first round qualifying – and win £2,500 in prize money.

The Trophy offers Wroxham some respite from their Ryman League Division One North woes.

Their preliminary round opponents are also from Division One South, with Surrey side Godalming Town making the trip to Trafford Park.

The G’s are in a similar predicament to the Yachtsmen, firmly rooted to the bottom of the league with just a single point to show for their endeavours from 10 matches this season.

They travel to Norfolk without a permanent manager after the previous boss Andy Hunt resigned last month in the wake of a 10-0 defeat against Carshalton Athletic.

Wroxham manager Damian Hilton will be hoping that despite his side’s lack of victories in the league, their luck will turn and they can gain a place in first round qualifying, where a trip to Ryman Premier club Needham Market awaits the victor.

Last season the Yachtsmen departed the competition at this stage as Hastings United ran out 3-2 victors at Trafford Park.

Matt Halliday sits out the game following his sending off at Soham Town Rangers, whilst Kyle Baker will need a late test after suffering a knock in last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Great Wakering Rovers.

Dereham will be looking to build on their recent upturn in form when they travel to Division One North rivals Brightlingsea Regent in the preliminary round.

The Magpies have won their last three games in a row with their latest success coming last weekend as they eased to a 3-0 win over Heybridge Swifts. The winner will travel to Ryman Premier side Metropolitan Police in first round qualifying – when Lowestoft Town and King’s Lynn Town enter the competition.

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