FA Cup: AFC Sudbury hoping for live TV exposure in derby tie against Colchester

AFC Sudbury celebrate
AFC Sudbury came from behind on Saturday to beat Dartford, who play two leagues above them

AFC Sudbury are hoping for a live television bonus after being rewarded for reaching the FA Cup first round with a home derby against Colchester.

The Isthmian League North Division club reached the first round for only the second time with a 3-1 win over National League South leaders Dartford.

And the eighth-tier club now face League Two opponents, who will only have to travel 14 miles for the game.

"It's such a huge game," chairman Andrew Long told BBC Radio Suffolk.

"I know representatives from the BBC are at our ground this morning, scoping out, and whilst I don't want to say anything too soon, you would think they wouldn't be there unless there was the intention for that to go ahead [on TV], so that means it could be on any day over the first weekend of November.

"We can't actually sell tickets, much as we would like to - and lots of people have already made inquiries - because we don't know which day or what time the game is going ahead."

Sudbury are the lowest-ranked side through to the FA Cup first round and were beaten 6-1 at Darlington in their only previous appearance at this stage in 2000.

Colchester, who are 19th in League Two following Saturday's 1-0 home win over Harrogate, were knocked out of the FA Cup last year by another eight-tier club, Marine.

"Many of our players, many of our supporters come across the border from north Essex and many of our players and the management team have long associations with Colchester, so it really is the absolutely perfect draw," said the chairman.

"We've really got nothing to lose and they have everything to lose and if we carry on playing in the way we have, and I have no reason to think it will change, we've got every chance."

Sudbury hope a capacity crowd of about 2,500 will be allowed to watch the game at the MEL Group Stadium.

"We've got meetings with the local council and police to ensure that those we can accommodate are done so as safely as we possibly can," said Long.

"It's been a tough two years for non-league football up and down the country because the seasons have ended early and we haven't had the games we should have done and that's had a corresponding effect with sponsors.

"This, of course it helps - principally we will use the revenue from this cup run to invest further in the club, to make the facilities better for the town."

He added: "Our aim has been, since the start of the season, to put smiles on people's faces. This is a way, on a Saturday afternoon, to give people a lift and what you will get from this team is non-stop effort."

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