VAUXHALL Motors must put their dreadful league form behind them on Saturday as they begin the pursuit of an FA Cup jackpot worth thousands of pounds.
Carl Macauley’s men head to Gateshead for a difficult second qualifying round tie knowing a win would put them only two steps away from the Holy Grail for non-league clubs – a place in the draw for the FA Cup first round proper and the prospect of a lucrative draw against a Football League club.
Boss Macauley, whose side slumped to their sixth defeat in 10 matches at Hucknall on Saturday, is not underestimating the importance of the fixture.
He said: ‘It is a massive weekend. The income from the FA Cup is vital to clubs like us. It’s important to us, but we know it’s important to Gateshead as well.
‘A win would be ideal because it would give us confidence to carry into our league games, which is just what we need right now.’
The winners of Saturday’s tie pocket £3,750 in prize money. The stakes rise in the third qualifying round as £5,000 is up for grabs, while the winners of the fourth qualifying round matches pocket £10,000 each – plus a coveted place in the FA Cup first round, when Football League sides enter the draw.
Should Motors get that far, they will be in the hat with clubs like Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and local rivals Tranmere Rovers.
Entering the competition at the second qualifying round stage due to their status as a Blue Square North side, Vauxhall have been handed a tough opener on Tyneside.
Gateshead have been blazing a trail at the top end of the UniBond League Premier Division, winning their first six matches.
Although their 100% winning streak in league combat came to an end on Saturday in a 1-1 draw at Matlock, they can go top of the table with a home victory over Guiseley tonight.
Motors are hoping free-scoring striker Paul Taylor recovers from an ankle injury in time to face Gateshead, but Macauley rates his chances as ‘touch and go’.
Taylor picked up the injury in the recent clash with Nuneaton and aggravated it before Saturday’s Hucknall match.
Any replay will be played next Tuesday at Rivacre Park at 7.45pm.