FA Cup: Unbeaten Burgess Hill Town eye Sutton scalp

Ian Chapman
Chapman was appointed Burgess Hill Town manager in 2012

Burgess Hill Town manager Ian Chapman hopes his unbeaten side can be a banana skin for Sutton United in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.

The Hillians, who are 10 points clear at the top of the Ryman Isthmian League Division One South table, travel to the Conference South side on Saturday.

"We can't be in better form, having won 12 on the spin," he told BBC Sussex.

"We can go there, play freely and enjoy it. There is always one shock somewhere and hopefully it can be our game."

The Leylands Park outfit have won 11 and drawn three games in the league and overcome Eastbourne Town, Croydon and Fleet Town in the FA Cup so far this season.

Burgess Hill Town's FA Cup run:
Preliminary round, 30 Aug: 1-0 v Eastbourne Town (H)
First qualifying round, 13 Sep: 3-2 v Croydon (A)
Second qualifying round, 27 Sep: 4-0 v Fleet Town (A)
Third qualifying round, 11 Oct: v Sutton United (A)

Former Brighton & Hove Albion and Gillingham defender Chapman says a hard work ethic has been key to their unbeaten start to the campaign.

"We finished last season well and have continued," the 44-year-old said.

"We've only brought three of four in and it has been an exceptional start. When you are up towards the top, you get the run of the green a bit more and sides have missed chances against us.

"Quite possibly when you step on the pitch, there is a bit of anxiety from the other team because you have won so many games."

Ian Chapman
Chapman made 281 Football League appearances for Brighton & Hove Albion between 1987 and 1996

Burgess Hill will have to cause an upset at Gander Green Lane if they are to move a step closer to reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their 132-year history.

Chapman has prior experience of an FA Cup shock, having been part of the Brighton side beaten by non-league Kingstonian in the first round in 1994-95.

"When you play someone higher you need to play out of your skins on the day and for them to be below par," he said.

"Sutton had their own magnificent records a few years ago when they beat Coventry.

"The FA Cup is a massive leveller and they don't want to be the one to slip on a banana skin.

"The chairman wanted a run in the FA Cup because for clubs of our size there is good prize money involved in it.

"We've already won three rounds so have got a few quid in the coffers towards running the club."