Leese dreaming of Emirates FA Cup upset and Potters clash

Friday 04 Dec 2015
Chesham boss Andy Leese celebrates his side's victory over Bristol Rovers

As Bradford City stand between them and a place in the Emirates FA Cup third round proper, Chesham United boss Andy Leese is entertaining the idea of his dream draw: Stoke City.

The Generals have successfully navigated five rounds of the competition already and – after knocking out Bristol Rovers last month – they head into Sunday’s second round tie as one of the lowest-ranked sides left in the hat.

It is a hat they would like to stay in beyond the weekend but, at this stage of the competition, their next test could hardly be tougher.

Bradford City v Chesham United

The Emirates FA Cup
Second Round Proper
2pm, Sunday 6 December 2015
Valley Parade, Bradford City
Winners receive £27,000 from prize fund
By Paddy von Behr

Chesham travel to in-form Bradford – the League One side who reached a League Cup final in 2013 and knocked out Chelsea on their way to the sixth round of The FA Cup last season – and Leese has plenty riding on it.

"Every time we have won a game in The FA Cup, we have not got carried away," he said. 

"But it has finally dawned on all of us that we are 90 minutes away from playing Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal – or Stoke City in my case, as a born-and-bred Potter.

"I have also said to the players that if we are still in The FA Cup come Christmas, then I would quit my job because it doesn’t get any better than that!"

And Leese does have a secret weapon up his sleeve, in the shape of 43-year-old former Fulham and Jamaica striker Barry Hayles.

Chesham United earned their place in the second round thanks to a win over Bristol Rovers last month

"He is a fantastic role model for the young players," added the manager. "I have tried to sign Barry a number of times and to look after yourself physically and be able to compete at this stage of his career is remarkable.

"His experience rubs off on all of us and he adds that bit of quality when it comes to preparation. 

"He is ready to go but selection will be based on a number of factors. He knows that nothing is done on sentiment but he has put himself in the frame with a couple of good performances."

Chesham are not the only ones coveting a high-profile third round tie however, with the Bantams eager to repeat their heroics of recent seasons.

They go into the game off the back of defeat to Walsall but prior to that, Phil Parkinson’s side had put together a remarkable run of seven straight clean sheets in all competitions.

Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson

Phil Parkinson and his side have plenty of good memories from their FA Cup run last season

But the former Charlton, Hull City and Colchester boss knows that won’t happen if they underestimate a Chesham side with nothing to lose.

"They look a good side, which is no surprise because they beat Bristol Rovers," said Parkinson. "You don’t go to a League Two side and win unless you are a decent team. We know it is going to be hard.

"We wanted a home draw and we got that and it is always good to get a team out of your own division. We got what we wanted.

"We will be reminding the lads at the weekend that this time last year we had to beat Dartford before we got the glamour ties that everyone remembers.

"Our focus has got to be spot on because we know that the third round of The FA Cup is the draw that everyone wants to be a part of. We want to be in it."

By FA Staff