MATCH PREVIEW | Southport v Chester – FA Cup

The fourth and final round of qualifying for the Emirates FA Cup sees Southport welcome local rivals Chester to the Merseyrail Community Stadium.

In addition to deciding who progresses to the main draw and being something of a derby, it also pits Steve Burr against his most recent employers, and is therefore one of the most eye-catching ties of the round.

The sides are in contrasting form going into the game, with Southport’s defeat away at Guiseley last week meaning they suffer the ignominy of being bottom of the National League.

At the other end of the spectrum, Chester are unbeaten since they went down 2-1 to Forest Green on September 3, which also happens to be the last time they conceded a goal. However, any Southport fans who made the trip to Salford this time last year will be more than aware that these games are not won on paper.

The Sandgrounders will hope, and require, that the magic of the cup once again throws the form book out of the window.

If the home side do pull off a shock, supporters will be hoping for a financially lucrative high profile tie against former Premier League sides such as Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United, or possibly another local tie against north-west coast rivals Fleetwood Town or Morecambe.

On the other hand, those dreaming of a repeat of the 2014/15 run to the third round may prefer to see a side such as Bishop Auckland, the lowest ranked side remaining in the competition visit the Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Saturday’s reunions don’t stop in the dugout. Southport right back Ryan Higgins played under Burr at the Deva Stadium, whilst former favourite Luke George returns to the Merseyrail Community Stadium alongside Ryan Astles who spent the pre-season of 2015 at Haig Avenue as a trialist under Paul Carden.

By Christy Byrne


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