Experience will count for everything for Chesham United as they head to Peterborough United in the FA Cup First Round.
That was the verdict of Generals centre back Darren Purse.
Purse, a veteran of over 500 appearances with professional clubs, will be part of the Chesham side that takes on the Posh and he believes that last season’s FA Cup run will benefit his side.
In that FA Cup run the Generals saw off the likes of Paulton Rovers, North Leigh and Enfield Town to reach the First Round of the competition and set up a tough-looking away tie at Bristol Rovers.
A Ryan Blake goal made club history as they beat Football League opposition for the first time and the result landed them the Emirates FA Cup Giantkillers of the season award.
A Second Round tie against Bradford City proved to be a step too far for the General, as they exited the competition with a 4-0 defeat at Valley Parade.
But now Purse thinks they can draw on their experience from that historic run when they face Peterborough United.
He said “We have a lot of lads still in the squad from last season.
“They played in the games against Bristol Rovers and Bradford City and that will help us.
“We have an experienced squad, they know how to make the game just another game, just another day.
“The manager (Andy Leese) will help us do that too because he will have learnt from last season.
“The chairman and the board will have wanted a league club and I am sure they will be delighted with that.
“The club did well last year and it is a good club, now we have to make sure we build on last year’s run, use the experience that was gained and try and get a result at Peterborough United”
Earlier in his career Purse spent time in the Premier League with the likes of Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion.
And he isn’t the only member of the Chesham with top flight experience.
Veteran striker Barry Hayles made his name in the lower leagues before progressing into the Premier League with Fulham.
During his spell with the Cottagers he scored goals against the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and is still plying his trade with the Generals at the age of forty four.
And he believes that they have a responsibility to ensure that the Generals squad aren’t overrawed on the big day at London Road.
He said “Obviously myself and Barry have Football League and Premier League experience, and the manager has been there and done it.
“The squad knows what awaits them and what they will face on the day of the game and before hand.
“We will all have a part to play in making sure that come kick-off time we take everything in our stride”
Chesham United are one of the big stories of the FA Cup’s recent history.
Last season’s run saw the club hit the headlines and now they return to the First Round with their game against the Posh.
And Purse believes that they are proof that the competition is losing none of its attraction.
“People say the FA Cup is losing its image, with clubs playing weakened sides but the FA Cup is a fantastic competition.
“At this level it gives players that maybe haven’t been fortunate enough to make it as a pro, to pit their wits against the big clubs.
“Anything can happen in the FA Cup, that is why it is still a great competition to be part of.
The standard of non-league is increasing and you hope you can raise your game and catch the Football League club on a bad day.
“That is what we hope to happen when we go to London Road to face Peterborough”
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Images: www.actionimages.com / Trevor Hyde