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Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders expecting Merstham to provide stubborn opposition in the FA Cup second qualifying round

Jay Saunders
Jay Saunders

Memories of last season’s cup runs have got Maidstone manager Jay Saunders dreaming of more knockout glory this time around.

Stones go to Merstham in the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday looking to negotiate a potentially tricky tie against lower-league opposition.

Saunders led his side to the third qualifying round last season and Maidstone also memorably reached the second round proper of the FA Trophy.

Most of those victories came away from the Gallagher Stadium, as did the Stones’ 1-0 win over Three Bridges to reach this stage of the competition.

Saunders said: "In the cup runs we had last year, we were always underdogs. It does help.

"I think that was the case at Three Bridges two weeks ago when they had nothing to lose. They weren’t expected to win.

"It’s hard in the early rounds. We went to Three Bridges and everyone thought we’d roll them over but it was a hard game.

"It would have been nice to have a home draw but we haven’t got that. Merstham will be tough. They’re a new side and we’ve had them watched."

Maidstone may be without Alex Brown at Merstham after the midfielder came off with a hamstring injury during Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Thamesmead.

That could open the door for Fabio Saraiva to make his first start since the opening week of the season – against his former club.

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