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Heed looking to keep FA Cup dreams alive; NATIONAL LEAGUE.

Byline: Jeff Bowron

GATESHEAD are looking to reach the second round of the FA Cup for only the fourth time in four decades this afternoon.

The Tynesiders take on Vanarama National League South high-flyers Chelmsford City at the International Stadium, a purse of PS18,000 at stake.

The Essex outfit boast the best defensive record in their division and last week's last-minute defeat at Chippenham was their first on the road.

For Gateshead manager Steve Watson it is the chance to record his first home win at the second attempt following last week's draw with Dover.

Three of the Heed's next four games are on home soil and, with none of the last four on Tyneside won, Watson is keen to make the International Stadium a fortress.

He said: "You want to be winning your home games because that is where you will pick up the majority of your points.

"We played well against leaders Dover, just as we did in winning at Leyton Orient, so we go into the cup tie in good heart.

"Chelmsford will look at our league position and fancy their chances, so it's important we assert ourselves and make our quality count.

"We've had Chelmsford watched and have done our homework.

"They are going well and are a good side but we've set our standards in the last two games.

"The FA Cup is littered with underdog stories and though they aren't a million miles away from us league wise it's a game we're looking to win."

Chelmsford have refused to allow Gateshead to use the multi-ball system normally employed to combat the vast confines of the International Stadium.

Only the match ball will be in use, meaning the ball will be in play less than usual, something Chelmsford presumably feel will benefit their cause.

It's another incentive for the Heed to get the job done at the first time of asking, Chelmsford's own stadium ironically also has an athletics track around it.

Watson, who came off the bench in the 1998 FA Cup final for Newcastle against Arsenal, is unfazed and believes the magic of the FA Cup is alive and well.

He added: "It's a fantastic competition. For clubs at our level it is all about the romance and bringing money into the club. It's a competition the North East embraces and one we want to do well in."

It is a first meeting between the two clubs and Chelmsford manager Rod Stringer is in confident mood ahead of the showdown on the banks of the Tyne.

He said: "It's a winnable tie and they'll be as much fearful of us.

"We have nothing to lose. We'll go there, punch our weight and see what we can do.

"This club has had great times in the FA Cup over the years and we are desperate to bring more success to the club."

Defender Jamal Fyfield is the only Heed absentee due to a knee injury.

Chelmsford will look at our league position and fancy their chances, so it's important we assert ourselves and make our quality count.Steve Watson

CAPTION(S):

Jamal Fyfield is Gateshead's only absentee due to a knee injury

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 4, 2017
Words:529
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