FA CUP fever returns this weekend as Bromsgrove Sporting take on fierce rivals and higher-ranked Alvechurch for a place in the first qualifying round.
Bragging rights are on the line tomorrow (Saturday) when the Rouslers make the trip to their Southern League Premier Central opponents, with a bumper crowd expected to pack Lye Meadow.
The two sides will do battle once again at the Church on Tuesday, September 4 – providing there is no FA Cup replay – in the first round of the Southern League Challenge Cup but Sporting boss Kelly would prefer to do the business in the FA Cup.
“The financial rewards are a lot bigger in the FA Cup than they are in the League Cup,” said Kelly.
“When I looked at the League Cup draw I thought they just picked up the two teams closest to each other and put them together.
“Nevertheless, it’s going to be a good test for us against a side in the league above.
“Ian Long is a very astute manager who gets the best out of his players so it’s going to be tough.
“We are not going into the unknown as the players know a lot of the lads at Alvechurch but those friendships go out the window for 90 minutes, even mine as I hold a soft spot for the club.
“Sometimes all the preparation goes out the window in the FA Cup and it’s down to who wants it more but we’re the underdogs so we’ve got nothing to fear.”
Sporting and Church know each other well after they played out a 1-1 draw in pre-season but Kelly knew neither side would put out their strongest XI to prevent giving too much away ahead of the FA Cup tie.
“The FA Cup draw instigated both clubs putting out teams with trialists and youngsters,” said Kelly, a former Church player. “I imagine a completely different 22 players will be on show on Saturday but we’re looking forward to it.”
The Rouslers head into their FA Cup clash on the back of two league victories in Southern League Division One Central, firstly a 4-1 victory over AFC Dunstable last Saturday followed by an 11-0 drubbing of Kidlington on Tuesday night at the Victoria Ground.
After the trip to Alvechurch, Sporting return to league action on Monday afternoon when they take on Sutton Coldfield.