FA Cup shock on the box expected when Brackley host Gillingham
Brackley Town’s 3,500-capacity St James’ Park ground will be bursting with supporters when League One Gillingham travel to Northamptonshire for their FA Cup first-round replay, which is live on BT Sports.
The Conference North side are unbeaten in their last six outings and showed in their 1-1 draw at Priestfield Stadium that they are no pushovers.
Gillingham have bigger fish to fry as they look to consolidate their position in the third tier of English football and the hosts can take advantage of their visitors two-day turnaround between matches.
Brackley to qualify for the next round @ 2/1
New Gills boss Peter Taylor has seen his latest charges climb from 17th to 14th in the League One ladder since taking over from Martin Allen at the start of last month.
Last year’s League Two champions had been in turmoil following a winless start to the season that saw them bottom after eight matches with just three points.
Three wins in five League One games since Taylor came in suggests they are back on track, but Saturday’s 2-1 triumph at Sheffield Utd came at a price as the veteran gaffer will be without four players who started against the Blades through injuries.
The win at Bramall Lane was only Gillingham’s second on the road in all competitions this term and they face a Brackley outfit that have not lost at home in 2013/14.
With an eminently winnable second-round tie away to Macclesfield in store for the victors, Jon Brady’s Saints can dig deep and finish the job against their depleted visitors.
Steve Diggin to score the first goal @ 8/1
The 26-year-old was the hero of Brackley’s promotion-winning 2011/12 season, with 17 goals in the Southern Premier League and the Northampton native grabbed another 13 strikes last term.
Fans’ favourite Diggin has continued that solid form so far in this campaign, with seven goals in as many Conference North starts for the Saints.
Manager Brady entrusted Diggin with the job of leading the line away to Gillingham and the former Corby Town striker looks the most likely to strike first against Taylor’s men in the replay.
Izak Reid to score at any time @ 6/1
Reid gained a wealth of Football League experience at Macclesfield Town and made 146 appearances for the Silkmen after coming through the youth system at Moss Rose Stadium.
The 26-year-old also made 37 appearances for League Two Morecambe, scoring just three times for the Lancashire club, but Reid’s strike-rate for Brackley since a summer move from the Shrimps has been much better.
Reid has made the opposition’s net bulge five times since the start of this season, including twice in his last three league games
It was the winger’s extra-time penalty that sealed Brackley’s place in the FA Cup first-round at Barrow and considering he is the Saints’ de facto spot-kicker, Reid is a value bet to gun down the Gills.