THE WITTON COLUMN - with Albion media assistant, Paul Harper

WE’RE up for the cup at Witton Albion this week as we embark on our Emirates FA Cup journey with an away tie at Seaham Red Star at the weekend.

The FA Cup can be fantastic for clubs like ourselves, helping to generate additional funds if we can get through a few rounds, as well as generate interest in the club both locally and nationally.

The beauty of the competition is that it gives us a chance to play in the same tournament as the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United etc. Indeed, should we progress far enough, we could even have the potential opportunity to face them! One step at a time, though!

But to have the potential to take on teams and players from the higher level is fantastic. For a club like Witton, a kind draw, a big gate at Wincham Park or progress into the main draw could make a huge difference, and we’ve seen the impact it can have on various different clubs down the years.

So, although it’s a very long road to Wembley, and the chances of us making it all the way there in May are incredibly slim, the competition is incredibly important.

Albion enter the competition at the First Qualifying Round stage, meaning we have to win four ties to make it into the First Round Proper, where the EFL League One and Two clubs come into the equation.

Our opponents this weekend have already won through two ties to reach this round, beating Penrith and Guisborough Town, so we’re ready to a difficult encounter to see if we can progress and keep the dream of facing one of the ‘big boys’ further down the line.

> Read last week's Witton Albion column here

We enjoyed an excellent run in the Cup last season, reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round phase.

In that run, we enjoyed a couple of ‘giant killings’ by beating higher division opposition in the form of Spennymoor Town and FC United of Manchester who were both a league above Witton at the time.

We were eventually knocked out by National League side Solihull Moors, who very narrowly missed out on promotion to the EFL after finishing second and losing out in the play-offs.

We’re all hoping that we can have a similar journey in the competition again this time around, maybe even one or two steps further.

But we have to focus on one game at a time, and our trip to Seaham Red Star will be a tough task but one we’re keen to overcome.