Chichester boss Rutherford would prefer FA Cup trip to Tranmere

MILES Rutherford admitted he would prefer his Chichester City history-makers to clock up the miles in the FA Cup second round.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 2:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 11:21 pm
Lloyd Rowlatt in action for Moneyfields

Monday’s draw at City’s Oaklands Park HQ has given the club a trip to either Wycombe Wanderers or Tranmere Rovers.

The League 1 clubs replay at Adams Park next week after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Preston Park.

Wycombe - currently second in Pompey’s division - will be favourites to progress.

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But Chi boss Rutherford, when asked if he had a preference, replied: ‘In terms of our journey, they’ve been a big league club … it’s Tranmere.

‘Wycombe are flying at the moment so we’d prefer to play Tranmere.’

A trip to Birkhenhead would mean a round trip of around 350 miles for Chi, playing in the FA Cup second round for the first time in the club’s history.

A trip to Wycombe, by comparison, would be around 160 miles.

Either way, Chi will be playing a club who are a whopping five levels above them in the footballing pyramid - the equivalent of Hawks’ famous trip to Anfield in 2008.

Last season Chi were playing in the Southern Combination League - the same level of the pyramid as Baffins, Horndean, Fareham and Portchester in the Wessex Premier.

‘Two years ago we turned up for training and there was a sign on the door saying we couldn’t get in … we were in a bad place, playing county league football,’ said Rutherford.

.We’ve only really got two players who were playing at step four last year, the rest of them were all playing county league.

.We’re a county league squad and we’re in the second round of the FA Cup, it’s unbelievable.’

The two players Rutherford was referring to are goalkeeper Steve Mowthorpe and midfielder Lloyd Rowlatt, who were both at Moneyfields.

Kaleem Haitha is a name that might also be familiar to Pompey fans.

The Portsmouth-born winger came through the club’s academy and made one first team appearance - coming on as a late sub for Brandon Haunstrup at Exeter in the EFL Trophy in 2015.

Rutherford himself is a former Moneys boss, leaving Dover Road just over four years ago to take over at Chi.

The Sussex club are the first since Mossley in 1949 to reach the second round of the FA Cup after starting out in the extra preliminary round.

Chi’s first cup tie this season was back on August 10, and they have so far won through seven rounds - six on the pitch and another via a bye in the first round.

Prior to this season, they had suffered three successive extra preliminary round defeats. In all, they have won as many FA Cup ties this season as they had in the last 26 seasons combined.

Clubs winning second round ties receive £54,000 from the tournament’s prize fund.