Walsall forward Tom Knowles is looking forward to the Saddlers’ Emirates FA Cup tie as they take on Sheppey United at the Total Power Stadium.
Sheppey United currently play in the Isthmian League South East Division which is the seventh tier of English football and have managed to navigate themselves to this part of the competition.
Knowles knows the FA Cup well after playing Leicester last term and is excited to be playing in this competition once again this season.
“Last year I played against Leicester, which was fantastic, the year before (with Yeovil Town) I played Bournemouth at home and beat Stevenage on the way there which was also great,” Knowles said.
“The FA Cup is something to look forward to and it is exciting to watch the draw and see who you get.
“The competition is fantastic and there have been great battles down the years. From non-league clubs beating bigger clubs and vice versa, it’s just brilliant for football in England.”
After last season’s experience, Knowles also recognises the impact the FA Cup can have for clubs further down the football pyramid such as the Saddlers and Sheppey United.
“The build up to the Leicester game last season was brilliant. There are great days out and great days in front of our home fans as well,” Knowles commented.
“We earned that game against Leicester and Sheppey will want to do the same, they have played a few more rounds than us to get here and we must respect that they have already done well in the competition to get where they are.”
Even though Sheppey United are below the Saddlers in the football pyramid, Knowles still believes that he and his teammates must arrive with professionalism and respect to come away with a result.
“We are in a position where we are the bigger team this time, so we have got to go there and be professional and get the job done,” Knowles continued.
“I have played at levels of non-league before, and I know how big it is for clubs and teams down the pyramid.
“They are going to come out and give it everything they’ve got. They have a free hit against us so it's up to us to manage that and deal with that in an appropriate manner.”