Here we are then. First round of the FA Cup and we welcome the lads from Arlesey Town to our white elephant of a stadium.

I’m a bit ill, meaning this may turn out to be especially pithy. That’s my reasoning, and I’m sticking to it.

How are they getting on?

They’re currently playing in the Southern League Premier Division (which is the same league as Leamington). Let’s not beat around the bush – current form really should be relevant, because if we lose to a team that is that much lower than us in the football pyramid, it’ll be an abomination.

However, I’m reliably informed that this game contains the magic of the FA Cup, meaning that it’s a one-off, and anyone can beat anyone on their day (as we know only too well).

So, for the sake of completion, I note their current form to be thus:

  • L (Cup)
  • D (Cup
  • W (Cup)
  • D
  • L
  • W (Cup)

They’re hardly pulling up any trees, although they did have an impressive September, winning 5 out of 7 games.

Their fixtures have been pretty cup-heavy during October, which may have left them with a bit of catching up to do in the league, but should mean that they’re already prepared with a cup mentality.

You may be interested to know that it was a 1-0 victory against Didcot which earned them this trip to our neck of the woods.

Who could cause us trouble?

Obviously I’m not too sure. To remedy this, I visited the official Arlesey Town website to gain a little insight. It was useful, as long as you don’t take the quality of the writing too seriously. If I was to take it seriously, I’d describe it as one of the worst football club websites in history.

But anyway, I digress – I’m no Stephen Fry, myself.

All indications suggest that they will stick with the same team that beat Didcot Town in the previous round. That included last season’s top scorer Chris Dillon; a centre forward who signed from Nuneaton in 2011. He’s also had experience with Luton Town, and a somewhat intriguing spell in Finland with F.C. Jokerit (a team that’s since been subsumed by Finnish giants HJK).

Player-boss Zema Abbey is a name that’ll be familiar to many City fans, but he’s likely to remain on the bench. His brother Nathan – himself of endless Football League clubs – is the Arlesey goalkeeper.

Midfielder Luke Thurlbourne was man of the match against Didcot, and there’s quite a lot said about the potential of nippy winger Aston Goss to cause grief.

Lastly, there’s Sol Davis, who spent a lot of his with Swindon and Luton Town, followed by a short stint at MK Dons. This higher league experience should serve him well.

Sky Blues team news

There will be changes to the team, Robins has already alluded to that. Most of those changes are likely to involve the loan players – most notably David McGoldrick and James Bailey – whose parent clubs will have requested that they don’t cup-tie themselves.

The season-long loanees are slightly different, so we may see Callum Ball come in to lead the line in place of McGoldrick. You would imagine that Robins will opt for a more attacking 4-4-2 formation, meaning Elliott (who came on for the final minutes against Orient) may join Ball in attack. I’d like to see Cody, but it’s anyone’s guess as to where his fitness levels currently lie.

The big poll this week has been about the right-back position, and who fills this slot. Cyrus Christie won this resoundingly, and following a solid return to the side in the previous game, he should continue.

Prediction

What’s supposed to happen is that we win, and really, we win convincingly. What shouldn’t happen is that we lose. If we lose, I’m retiring from living.

I suspect that we’ll find a spot in between those which is certainly closer to the “winning convincingly” spectrum, but it’ll be nothing crazy like 7 or 8 as is often suggested in these types of games.

I’m going to say 3-0, with a tricky opening 45 minutes.

I knew I couldn’t do pithy.

Huge ta to @footballattic for the Subbuteo image.

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