Willand Rovers assistant manager David Steele says he has mixed feelings over his side’s FA Cup draw against Barnstaple Town.
Rovers beat Barnstaple 3-0 in the Les Phillips Cup final in May and now travel to the North Devon club on August 15 for their extra preliminary round match.
Steele says he is aware Barnstaple may be out for revenge, but is pleased to be playing familiar opposition.
He revealed: “I think they’ll be quite pleased with the draw, being at home. We’re pleased with the draw, too, as it’s a team in our league, rather than above us, but it will be a difficult game.
“In the cup final, we were convincing winners but I’d imagine they’ll have strengthened their side and they’ll be looking to put one over on us to avenge their defeat.
“We’ll be confident going into it but showing them the respect they deserve having won promotion.”
Willand went on a superb cup run last season and came within one round of possibly playing a Football League club and Steele says anything similar this year will be a bonus.
He said: “Anything you ever achieve in the FA Cup is a bonus as you can only dream of seasons you have in the FA Cup like last season – that only happens once in a blue moon at our level.
“If we were to get through two or three rounds in the FA Cup every season, you’d be over the moon. If we get through this one, we’ll have Bridgwater at home, who are a league above.
Last season, as much as we did very well, we were quite fortunate with the draws we had – we had some very tough games but we could have had a lot tougher.
“Anything close to last year’s achievements will be very well-received by the chairman.”
In the FA Vase, Willand have been drawn against either Plymouth Parkway or Street.
The club have started pre-season training again after a summer that saw player-manager Scott Rogers leave but Steele says there are positive vibes around Silver Street.
Steele said: “We started training last Wednesday at the club, where we had 16 or 17 players, which was great.
“On Friday night, we went down to Sandy Bay at Exmouth with 11 or 12 players, as it’s a bit of a trek for some of the lads. Everybody worked hard and everyone looks quite fit.
“It’s a bit of a challenge ahead and Russell Jee (manager) and I need to get our heads around things and look to try and secure the players we want to keep at the club.
“We need to replace the players who’ve left, which will be hard in itself. We’ve not made any signings but we’ve got a few new faces at training, which is working on both fronts, as we’ve got to have a look at them and they’ve got to have a look at us.”
Willand begin their pre-season campaign away to Crediton United on Tuesday night, followed by a home match against Tavistock on July 11. The latter match was originally against Bridgwater but has been changed by the club after the possibility of the two sides meeting in the FA Cup.