Steve King makes Deal favourites for their FA Vase Fourth-Round tie at home to Cobham.
Deal manager King was delighted to avoid Southern Counties East Premier Division rivals Erith Town and Holmesdale as they aim to replicate the Wembley FA Vase success enjoyed in 2000.
King said: “It’s two fold, really.
“One, we think SCEFL is actually very strong so we often want non-SCEFL sides. Regionally, there’s two Combined Counties Leagues and, traditionally, SCEFL is probably a little bit stronger.
“Sometimes, drawing those sides can be an advantage - although I know Farnham are in the Combined Counties and they’re probably favourites for the FA Vase.
“Secondly, you get to play teams that you don’t play every week. I think we have played Erith Town five times in the last six or seven months.
“We have already played Holmesdale twice and we’ll play them the week before the Vase game so we didn’t really want to get another SCEFL side.
“So we’re pleased to get somebody else and pleased to be at home. To see them in the bottom-half of their table, we probably will go in as favourites, although Cobham are going to get our full respect.
“It’s not often you go into the last 32 of the Vase as favourites but we will certainly take it.”
While the fifth-placed Hoops are also challenging for promotion, the chance to progress to Wembley, naturally, helps to capture extra attention from fans.
King explained: “It’s hard to bill a normal league game as ‘a big game’ - even though, for us, they are.
“I think we would have had Fisher at home that day. Fisher at home in the league, it’s a hard game to get a really massive crowd for.
“But the FA Vase gives everyone excitement, doesn’t it?
“I’ve always said if you are in the Vase after Christmas, which we are, then you never know.”