The Emirates FA Cup qualifying rounds are done and dusted and this weekend sees 48 clubs from the English Football League enter the competition at the first round stage.

As usual, the first round draw has thrown up some truly fascinating ties with a number of non-league clubs being handed the opportunities to go head-to-head with experienced names from the English Football League.

Ahead of the weekend’s ties, we have selected three games where cup shocks look to be very possible.

Aldershot Town v Bradford City

Life could not be much worse for fans of Sky Bet League One club Bradford City. The Bantams have suffered seven consecutive defeats in all competitions while they are rock bottom of the league table.

On Saturday, David Hopkin’s side face a tricky trip to National League outfit Aldershot Town, a side who have lost just once in seven matches. The Hampshire club have also been defeated just twice in 11 home fixtures in all competitions this season.

The Shots have reached the second round of the competition in six of the last 10 seasons and given the poor form of Saturday’s opponents, you wouldn’t bet against that happening again.

Ebbsfleet United v Cheltenham Town

Relegation-threatened Cheltenham Town find their English Football League future hanging by a thread once again following a poor start to the season. The Robins have won just twice in Sky Bet League Two this season and pressure is mounting on manager Michael Duff.

Cheltenham Town’s Emirates FA Cup first round tie sees them travel to an Ebbsfleet United side who are now working under a new manager in Garry Hill. Former Woking boss Hill knows the non-league scene very well and is well-respected at National League level.

Ebbsfleet United’s season so far has been a little unpredictable but in their new boss Hill, they have someone who could help change their fortunes and Saturday’s fixture against Cheltenham Town could be the perfect opportunity to command a reaction from his new squad.

Maidstone Town v Macclesfield Town

Maidstone United have not achieved what they would have hoped so far this season but a recent derby draw at Ebbsfleet United and 2-0 victory against Barnet will have lifted their spirits.

The former English Football League club are well supported while the pitch at their Gallagher Stadium home is artificial and potentially troublesome for the opposition.

On Saturday, Maidstone United take on Macclesfield Town in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup, a club which are propping up the rest of the English Football League. Many of the visiting players will have played at The Gallagher Stadium last season in National League North but there is a very different feeling around Macclesfield Town this term and this game will be a real test of character.

The home side could benefit from the backing of a big home crowd and it would be no shock to see Maidstone United write famous headlines once again.


About Author

I am Dan Pentland and I am a York City season ticket holder and volunteer for men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK. In May 2015, I completed my childhood dream of visiting all 92 Football League grounds. Follow me on Twitter @DanPentlandpcuk and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dpentlandawaydayspcuk/

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