Grays Athletic v Daventry Town
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Third Round Qualifying
3pm, Sunday 13 October 2013
Mill Field, Aveley FC
Third Round Qualifying results
Winning clubs will receive £7,500 from The FA prize fund
Former Arsenal trainee Ryan Kirby is in the midst of his first FA Cup campaign as manager of Grays Athletic - and participation has evoked memories of starring on primetime TV and meeting an England legend.
Kirby was on the books at Stevenage Borough in the 1990s when they landed plum ties against Birmingham City and Newcastle United in consecutive seasons.
And the former defender, whose current side host Daventry Town in the Third Round Qualifying on Sunday, is fully aware of the "surreal" prospects that lie in wait for his charges if they progress to the main stages of the competition.
He told TheFA.com: "My most memorable FA Cup runs came with a non-League side, which was Stevenage Borough.
"We reached the Third Round Proper against Birmingham City one season. The following season we reached the Fourth Round Proper against Newcastle United.
"Birmingham was great. We had a great crowd and we switched the tie to play at St Andrew's. It was featured on Match of the Day as one of the highlights so that was the first time we'd ever done anything like that. That was exciting.
"And then the following year to go a step further and draw Newcastle. We took them to a replay up at St James' Park. I was actually suspended for the Newcastle games. But to see the likes of David Batty and Alan Shearer walking through - it was absolutely surreal."
Grays will face lower-ranked opposition for the third round in a row and Kirby believes Lady Luck might be smiling on his side this season.
He added: "It's been a few seasons since I had a good Cup run with any club I've been at. I think you're always looking for a bit of 'luck of the draw'.
"Fortunately we keep getting home ties against lower-league opposition, so when you look at it on paper you have to think 'we're in with a good chance if we perform to the best of our abilities'."
The Essex side have excellent pedigree in the Cup - they've reached the First Round Proper on no less than six occasions - and Kirby is desperate to emulate the success of his predecessors.
He said: "There is no pressure on me to follow up that proud record. If anything it's been a good few years since they've achieved that, so I would love to emulate that."
Grays Athletic boss Ryan Kirby was part of Stevenage's famous side of the 1990s
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