Chester FC begin another FA Cup odyssey on Saturday when they make the short trip down the M56 to face National League rivals Altrincham at Moss Lane (3pm).

Last season proved to be a memorable one in the world's most famous domestic cup competition for the Blues, with wins over Stockport County and then League Two outfit Southend United and a hugely creditable draw at League One side Barnsley earning the club over £100,000 by the time they had been beaten in the replay by the Tykes.

But a trip to Altrincham won't be easy for Steve Burr's charges, with the Robins boasting a storied FA Cup history that includes several Football League scalps, including Chester City's in 1992.

We've picked out three Alty players who the Blues will need to nullify if they are to emerge victorious on Saturday afternoon.

Michael Rankine

Imposing striker Rankine was courted by a number of National League sides when he left Gateshead during the summer but plumped for Moss Lane, where he has netted five times so far.

Standing at 6ft 1ins, former York City and Hereford United striker Rankine is a handful for defenders, with his physical presence and aerial ability often proving an excellent foil for his strike partner, which this season is five-goal George Bowerman.

Although not finding the target, Rankine has impressed against the Blues in recent seasons and his name was mooted as a potential target during the close season by some fans. And while not the most prolific of strikers, Rankine, 30, will relish a battle with Ian Sharps, Michael Kay and Ben Heneghan at Moss Lane. Keeping him quiet, especially from set plays, will be an important game plan for Chester.

He also scored the late goal that handed Hereford a final day win over Aldershot Town at the end of the 2013/14 season, a goal that consigned Chester to relegation to the Conference North. It did, though, prove to be futile in the end as the Blues received a relegation reprieve following Hereford's expulsion for financial matters.

Altrincham's Adam Griffin (right)
Altrincham's Adam Griffin (right)

Adam Griffin

Blues fans with good memories will recall full-back Griffin making a solitary appearance for the Blues during a loan spell from Oldham Athletic in January 2003, where he emerged from the bench in a televised 1-1 clash with Barnet. It was the same game where Daryl Clare netted for the Blues and celebrated by consuming a Mars bar in front of the delighted Chester faithful.

Fast forward 12 years and Griffin, now 31, is a seasoned campaigner whose career has taken in spells lengthy spells in the Football League with Oldham, Stockport County and Darlington before dropping into non-league football with Hyde in 2011.

A player with the ability to play wing back or as a out and out winger, Griffin has been a mainstay of the Altrincham side since joining in 2013. He will no doubt prove a tough customer for the likes of Craig Mahon and Jordan Chapell to face and he will be looking to snuff out the danger from the Blues' wide players.

Altrincham's Gianluca Havern goes to ground for a challenge against Aldershot Town
Altrincham's Gianluca Havern goes to ground for a challenge against Aldershot Town

Gianluca Havern

Having had a stop-start career early on, Manchester-born Havern has become one of Altrincham's key men since joining them in 2012.

The 27-year-old centre back was sent off when the Blues last visited Moss Lane back in January and has featured 12 times for Lee Sinnott's Robins this term.

A tough tacker who reads the game well, Havern has the ability to dominate defenders with his athletic, physical style of play and 6ft 1ins frame. He will be looking to stifle the threat of Ross Hannah and keep the nippy Blues forward at bay during the contest.

And while he may not be one of the Premier League's elite, Havern hit the headlines in 2011 when he was involved in a 'holiday romance' with former N-Dubz lead singer and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos. Fascinating.