Published: 06:00, 05 September 2019
Ashford United stand on the verge of their best FA Cup run for more than 20 years this weekend.
They face Farnborough at Homelands on Saturday aiming to reach the second qualifying round for the first time since 1998.
With a 100% record so far this season, there could hardly be a better time for the big game to come along.
Ashford are a point off the top of Isthmian South East with a game in hand and haven't conceded a goal since the opening day.
It sets up nicely their clash with Step 3 opposition in a tie worth £4,500 to the winners.
Ashford manager Tommy Warrilow said: "It’s the FA Cup, so anything can happen.
"We’re expecting a tough game but it’s winnable. We want to make home advantage count and the financial side is key.
"We want to stay in it as long as possible and if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be as prepared as we can for Farnborough.
"The players are beginning to believe in themselves and with the results, that will create even more belief. If they don’t start believing in what they’re doing now, they never will.
"There is still loads more to come from us. We’ve just come off a game against a side that got relegated from the Premier Division (Burgess Hill), beat them 2-0, kept another clean sheet, created enough chances in the first half to be out of sight and missed a penalty and we’re still coming in scrutinising what we could have done better.
"The boys are buying into it all now because they’re beginning to realise they could make life a lot easier for themselves and when they do that, it's a confidence thing. If you’ve got confidence in football, that’s the most important thing because you’ll go out and express yourself.
"We’ve played four, only let one goal in, we’ve scored 10 and we’re in the next round of the FA Cup so at the moment, we couldn’t do much more but we know there’s loads more to come from us and the boys are realising that as well."
David Smith comes into the tie with six goals in three league games and Warrilow is demanding his players maintain their high standards.
He said: "They’ve got to be positive in the way they think. It’s not about being arrogant, it’s confidence and belief.
"We’re not asking the impossible but we know what we’re capable of. At the moment, we’re winning games and keeping clean sheets but we’re not going to take that for granted.
"We want to maintain what we’re doing and keep improving all the time."
More by this authorSteve Tervet