Hampton & Richmond boss: ‘It’s the saddest day of the year when you get knocked out the FA Cup’

Manager Alan Dowson has underlined the financial benefits of an FA Cup run as Hampton & Richmond travel to Cinderford Town in the third qualifying round tomorrow.

The Beavers are two matches away from reaching the first round proper for just the third time in their history, and the National League South side will fancy their chances of getting at least one step further against a side two leagues below them.

“It’s the saddest day of the year when you get knocked out of the FA Cup for players, managers, supporters, and chairmen as well because the financial side of it is massive,” he said.

“We’re no different to anybody else. It’s £7,500 we’re playing for on Saturday and that’s a hell of a lot of money for a club like ours.”

The club have recorded five successive draws in the National League South and currently lie 17th, but the 47-year-old is not alarmed and feels repeating last season’s play-off finish is realistic.

“After losing Nicke Kabamba and Jamal Lowe to Portsmouth, my captain’s had a bad knee injury and Harold Odametey has gone to Maidenhead, so we’re obviously trying to build a new side. This takes time,” he added.

“Last season we did well, but it’s no good finishing seventh and then the following seasons finishing 10th and 12th.

“We’re seven points off the play-offs, but there are still 30 games to go.”

Dowson highlighted the stunning impact of on-loan Oxford United winger Malachi Napa, who will remain in south-west London until Boxing Day before returning to his parent club.

“Napa’s only 18 and has come in with a lot of maturity,” he said.

“He’s been our star man and has taken the league by storm. He’s a very exciting prospect and we’re very grateful to Oxford for letting us have him.”

After making the trip to Gloucestershire this weekend, the team then return to league matters against Truro.

The former Kingstonian boss stressed: “In these two weeks, we’ve got everything to prove.

“If we get through in the FA Cup, that will be nine games unbeaten and we then face Truro, who are top of the table.

“So after that game, we’ll see how full the glass is.”

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