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Gillingham's management team have enjoyed the riches of the FA Cup before with Crawley Town

Gillingham are one step away from potentially facing the big-boys of English football.

Doncaster are the visitors to Priestfield on Sunday for the second round of the FA Cup, and the winners will be joined by the elite for the third round draw.

Gillingham's management watch on at AFC Wimbledon Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham's management watch on at AFC Wimbledon Picture: Ady Kerry

Manager Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor have already had some magical days in the competition, twice reaching the fifth round with Crawley – giving Manchester United a run for their money at Old Trafford in 2011.

With a win over Sunderland already in the bag from their first round exploits, Raynor would love to bring a bit of that magic to their time at Gillingham.

Raynor said: “I have had some ups and downs in the cup but we had some unbelievable times at Crawley, beating Bristol City, Derby, Hull and potentially should have beaten Manchester United away.

“I still look at the videos now and again. They are good memories to look back on and hopefully we can make some more here.

“We had two terrific games against Sunderland, excellent performances, and to get through (the first round) against a massive club was fantastic.

“Nobody really gave us a sniff but over the two games we were very worthy of going through and now we have another tough one.

“It’s at home, which is pleasing, everyone always wants a home tie, but we are under no illusions.

“Doncaster are a very good side. We played them first game, it was tough, I think they would appreciate it was tough for them, too. It’s 50-50, it’s game on.

Gills boss Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor have twice taken Crawley Town to the fifth round Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills boss Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor have twice taken Crawley Town to the fifth round Picture: Ady Kerry

“You have to get through these hurdles to get any chance of getting a plum home tie, or away against one of the big boys, and it is about getting there.

“It took a real scrap to get through Sunderland and no doubt it will be the same on Sunday.

“If we can get through to that third round then we will all be waiting with anticipation, as will Doncaster if they are lucky enough.

“The chance of us drawing a Manchester City, a Manchester United or Tottenham, whoever, it is magical and we just want the opportunity to have that chance to be in the draw with these guys.”

While there are memories to be made – there is also money at stake. Gills pocketed £36,000 from their first round win and they can add another £54,000 to the balance sheet with a win over Doncaster.

And with the January transfer window around the corner, it will all help.

Raynor said: “I am sure the chairman was delighted we got a replay (against Sunderland) and got through. We are a football club, we’re a business.

“Let’s get one of the big boys in the draw and if it helps the chairman financially, then brilliant.

“Then come January we might have a few quid and we can knock on his door and see what we can do.”


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