IT’S earlier than ever but the FA Cup trail opens this weekend a full nine months before the Wembley finale.
Nine local teams will start out in the Extra Preliminary round come next Saturday and earning a spot of cup glory will be a nice little earner as well - those who get through this first stage will earn £1,000 from the FA Cup prize fund.
There are home ties for five of the area’s clubs, all from the North Counties East League. Dinnington Town entertain Atherton Collieries, Parkgate’s Green Lane ground hosts Runcorn Town whose neighbours, Runcorn Linnets, visit Hemsworth MW.
Staveley have Hall Road Rangers as visitors while AFC Emley meet Chadderton.
Travelling across the Pennines will be Hallam to Irlam and Maltby Main to Cheadle Town.
Armthorpe Welfare are off to the North-east to face FA Vase winners Dunston UTS whose victorious side at Wembley in May included former Rotherham United and Doncaster Rovers defender Chris Swailes, now 41.
If both Hallam and Parkgate win, they face each other at Sandygate at the next stage, the Preliminary round.
Tonight, in the NCEL Premier Division it is Parkgate v Brighouse Town, Worksop Parramore v Lincoln MR. In the League Cup, Athersley Rec v Yorkshire Amateur, Dinnington Town v Hemsworth MW.