Cottesmore and Oakham United start out on the road to Wembley in FA Vase competition
Cottesmore and Oakham United will be flying the flag for Rutland on Saturday in the prestigious FA Vase competition.
Both sides enter the competition, which culminates in a Wembley final, at the first qualifying round stage and will be underdogs in tricky away ties.
They both travel to face higher level opposition with Cottesmore visiting East Midlands Counties League side Radford while Oakham are at Midland League Division One outfit Kirby Muxloe.
It is Cottesmore’s first-ever time in the FA Vase and manager Rich Giblin is relishing the challenge against a Radford side who have won two of their opening four games.
Giblin said: “We're under no illusions. It's not an easy game for us.
"Radford have had a mixed bag of results so far, but we know that they will be a big, strong side.
"We're going there as underdogs which isn't a bad thing. We will give it a go because we want to win the game.
"It will be a great result if we do that but, if we get beat, then most people will have expected it.
"The boys have just got to treat it like another game of football. We will set up with the intention of playing how we like to. We won't be going there and sticking 10 players in defence.
"We'll see how we get on. It's the first time the club has ever been in the FA Vase so the boys will really be up for it.
"I've been thinking back to the Melton game in the Senior Cup at the back end of last year when we took a higher level side to penalties.
"There's always going to be a little bit extra with it being Melton, but we've got to put that sort of display in again.
"It's still 11 versus 11 even though we know they play at a higher level and will be well-drilled with good players.
"We need to go there with that approach and not be like rabbits in headlights. We need to be in the game and realise that we can compete with teams like that.
"Some of our lads have played at that level and others have been touted by higher level teams so it's just about going out and doing it.”
Cottesmore have an injury doubt over Eathan Milne who came off in last Saturday’s 3-0 home over Ashby Ivanhoe Knights with a hamstring strain.
Oakham are hoping to have the influential Richard Nelson back for their trip to Kirby Muxloe after he missed last Saturday’s Peterborough Senior Cup defeat at Leverington due to work commitments.
Centre-back Sam Munton is suspended after being red-carded in Saturday’s defeat, but new signing Anderson Uduovie impressed when introduced as a substitute.
Joint manager Stewart Lambie said: “I went to watch Kirby a couple of weeks ago and they're a solid side, but if we play like we can then we've got a chance.
"The performances are so up and down at the moment though so I don't really know what I'm going to get.
“Anderson struggles a bit with work commitments, but he came on and did a good job on Saturday.
"He's built like a tank and will give us more of a physical presence especially with Sam Munton missing for three games.”
More by this authorJames Bedford