08:00AM, Saturday 03 October 2020
The Rebels have been handed one of the toughest looking FA Cup draws on paper, but Jon Underwood is confident they can overcome league rivals Dartford in their own backyard.
In a quirk of the draw the Rebels will visit the side they faced in the National League South play-off eliminator back in July, and on that occasion the Darts secured a deserved 3-0 win.
However, before the visitors edged in front at Arbour Park shortly after the interval, they’d largely been under the cosh and Underwood is confident they go there and claim a measure of revenge. The Rebels results in pre-season have been improving and last weekend they rounded off their friendlies with a 1-0 win over last season’s National League South champions Wealdstone, with new signing Jack McKnight netting a penalty.
“I think we edged the play-off match with Dartford in the first half and then they were much the better side in the second half once they’d taken the lead,” said Underwood.
“It’s probably one of the toughest games at this stage that we could have had. There are a lot of lower level sides in the competition and you’d want an easier game to start the competition, but this is probably as tough as it gets.
“It’s not what we wanted but we’ve ended pre-season strongly.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries, but I know Dartford are the same, I think it’s one of those when you won’t know where you are until that game.
“We’ve played some sides from the level above and we’ve done pretty well in the last few. We fancy ourselves still, and we’ve got great belief in ourselves.
“If we can go there and win, what a confidence boost that would be going into the league campaign.”
After Saturday’s tie focus will switch to the league with the visit of Hemel Hempstead Town to Arbour Park on Tuesday night.
Underwood added: “They’ve had a change of manager and there have been lots of changes there.
“It’s pretty much a new team barring the few who have stayed.
“Since the fixtures were made, we’ve kept a close eye on their friendly matches.
“They’ll be a very new, fresh, side. We’ve done our homework but it’s difficult as friendlies don’t give you a brilliant guide. We’ll be prepared for it.”
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