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It's 31 years since John Still last managed Maidstone United in the FA Cup

John Still takes charge of a Maidstone FA Cup match for the first time in 31 years this weekend.

The Stones host Isthmian Premier Cheshunt in the second qualifying round on Saturday.

Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Steve Terrell

Still's last tie as Stones boss was a 2-1 second-round replay defeat by Reading in December 1988.

It was the season United went on to win the Conference while the Royals were in the old Division 3 - now League 1.

The year before that, Still took Maidstone to Sheffield United in the third round, losing 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

The 69-year-old feels the FA Cup is back in fashion and is looking forward to facing Cheshunt, who are managed by his good friend, Craig Edwards.

He said: "I can't believe it's been all that time since the Reading game. It makes me realise how old I am.

"It also makes me realise how lucky I am to stay in the game all these years - it's an incredible amount of time.

"It's exciting to be back in the FA Cup.

"It's the best competition in the world and I've had some fun in it over the years.

"I think it went out of fashion for a little while but all of a sudden it's become a top competition again for the bigger clubs.

Maidstone reached the FA Cup second round last season, losing to League 2 Oldham Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone reached the FA Cup second round last season, losing to League 2 Oldham Picture: Andy Jones

"I know they might mess around with their side for a round or two but I think when they look at Manchester City and Liverpool they know they aren't going to win the league but they could win the FA Cup.

"It's a way of getting into Europe and if you win the Europa League you're in the Champions League.

"For us non-league clubs, you play for that big game, don't you?

"Someone, somewhere, gets a nice little earner or maybe one or two clubs do."

In recent years, Still has taken Dagenham to Everton and last season led Barnet to the third round, where they upset Sheffield United.

He rejoined Maidstone a couple of weeks later and is targeting another good cup run.

There needs to be a big improvement on last weekend's 3-1 National League South defeat at Dorking, a performance that left Still questioning his players.

He said: "When you find it hard to pick a good performer, that tells a story.

"We might have had one adequate performer in Clovis Kamdjo but I can't think of a good one.

Clovis Kadmjo was Maidstone's only 'adequate' performer at Dorking, according to John Still Picture: Steve Terrell
Clovis Kadmjo was Maidstone's only 'adequate' performer at Dorking, according to John Still Picture: Steve Terrell

"One or two might be very lucky that they're playing on Saturday.

"I hate excuses, I don't give them, I don't like people making them and, to be fair, no one made any.

"Looking at it, a lack of consistency is sometimes down to a lack of ability.

"We've shown we can do it but we're having a serious look at the situation because if players can't show the consistency we need then they aren't the right players.

"We're not disappointed with our start - we're not far off where we thought we'd be - but although we'd lost one in eight before Dorking, we're still not happy with our consistency.

"It may be that we need to look at a couple of areas and see if they need changing.

"That might involve us putting people on the list and bringing one or two others in."

Sam Corne (knee) and Ryan Johnson (calf/hamstring) could be back for the tie.

In the event of a draw, the replay will take place on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent


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