Rangers aiming to continue cup exploits
Deeping Rangers boss Michael Goode is hoping the magic of the FA Cup will rub off on his charges again as they prepare for one of toughest tests of the preliminary round.
The Clarets host Southern League Premier Division side AFC Rushden & Diamonds at the Haydon Whitham Stadium on Saturday.
Diamonds were promoted to step three of the non-league pyramid for the coming campaign and are one of the highest-ranked clubs in the preliminary round of the competition.
They ran out 3-0 winners when the two sides met at Deeping in the 2015 FA Cup campaign, but Clarets chief Goode has overseen a good run of success for his club in the historic competition.
That culminated last season in a plum home tie with National League North side Kidderminster Harriers which attracted a record crowd of 696 to Outgang Road - bettering the previous best of 635 which was set against Rushden.
Goode said: "As a step three club, they're probably one of the strongest sides in the competition at this stage.
"It will be a big challenge because we probably couldn't have drawn anyone bigger at this stage of the competition.
"But every club is the same at this stage. You want to go as far as you can in the competition, but it's not the be all and end all.
"We will be as competitive as we can be and will be doing all we can to get a result.
"The FA Cup has been very good to us. We've played the likes of Gresley, Leek, Rushden and Kidderminster in the last four seasons and we've now got Rushden again.
"They are a big club at this level and it will be a good challenge for the lads.
"We will be trying to win the game and hopefully we have learned the lessons from the last time we played them.
“We were out of the game after going in 3-0 down at half-time so we have to be a lot more sharper about how we start.
"We gave ourselves too much to do to get back in it and a similar thing happened last season against Kidderminster.
"But we have achieved our first goal which was to beat Holbeach in the last round so we got the Rushden tie and, if we can go a bit further, then that would be brilliant."
Deeping will be without defensive duo Dan Flack and Billy Stubbs plus midfielder Henry Dunn for the clash.
However, Michael Simpson and Jason Kilbride both return while Joe Briers came through 45 minutes for the reserves in midweek.
Goode continued: "We're all up for it and are as ready as we can be.
"We've got a couple of big players missing which means we'll have to shuffle the squad like we have had to do for the last couple of weeks.
"It's probably not something Rushden have had to do at their level, but it gives players the opportunity to step up and show what they can do."