Coventry United may be unknown to many outside the West Midlands but after three promotions in as many seasons they are preparing to embark on their first ever Emirates FA Cup journey – and boss Terry Anderson is dreaming big.
Formed in 2013 by a group of disgruntled fans after Coventry City temporarily relocated to Northampton, United have gone from strength to strength ever since.
On Sunday, they play Shawbury United in the extra preliminary round looking to take their league success into the world’s most treasured cup competition.
Coventry United v Shawbury United
The Emirates FA Cup
Extra Preliminary Round
3pm, Sunday 7 August 2016
Sphinx Drive, Coventry Sphinx FC
By Josh Richards
But rather than manage expectations, manager Anderson is dreaming of reaching the first round proper and believes the club have the potential to reach the Football League in the next decade.
"The first round would be brilliant, it would be the best thing for the club financially too," he said.
"We’ll take it one game at a time. It’s a long way off the first round but we will give it a good go and see if we can get there.
"To only have Coventry City as a League team in the city is a bit far-fetched, you could not believe it with the population we have.
"We are the next up and coming team. The owners have big ambitions and the players have come down leagues to play because they see the ambition, give it five years you may see them in the National League."
FA Cup History
Sunday will be Coventry United’s first taste of Emirates FA Cup football.
Shawbury, who started as members of the West Shropshire Alliance in 1992, entered the FA Cup in 2008-09 and 2009-10, but failed to win their extra preliminary round ties.
In the 2007-08 season, the club reached the last 32 of The FA Vase as well as finishing runners-up in their league.
Did you know?
Village club Shawbury United play their home matches seven miles away in neighbouring Wem.
They are in the same league as Coventry United, the Midland Football League Premier Division, after their own promotion from West Midlands Premier Division last season.
A 2-0 victory over third-placed Haughmond, their seventh on the spin, saw United pip Bridgnorth to last year’s title with a game to spare.
Coventry United will become the fourth team from the city to feature in The Emirates FA Cup after Coventry City, Coventry Sporting and Coventry Sphinx.
Ones to Watch
Ex-Coventry City players Kevin Thornton and Ben McKay have both joined Coventry United recently and could make a difference on Sunday. Anderson admitted it was important to add some experience to his young squad.
"We have had a really good pre-season, we’ve brought two big names in, we are playing well the fans are really excited and the lads too," he said.
"The experience in the team will be great, we are a young team but the professionalism they will bring will help us a lot.
"It’s any footballers dream to play in The Emirates FA Cup."
The winning club will pocket £1500 and progress to the preliminary round to play Lichfield City or Wolverhampton Casuals at home.