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FA Cup preview | Will Banbury banish Barrow in front of TV cameras?

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It’s the best weekend in football - the FA Cup first round!

While the action gets underway on Friday night, the bulk of fixtures are on Saturday afternoon.

In time-honoured tradition, the competition’s remaining non-league sides are joined by League One and Two clubs at this stage.

While not everyone can land a plum draw against a Sheffield Wednesday or Sunderland, there are plenty of opportunities for non-league sides to progress into the second round.

Read on for previews of the key matches and odds courtesy of Betfred

Banbury United vs Barrow

ITV can obviously spell an upset in this fixture with this game selected for live coverage on Saturday evening. 

Banbury have already won four games to get to this stage having entered at the first qualifying round.

Victories over Ardley United, Nantwich Town, Basford United and Bath City earned them a spot in the first round draw. 

Should Andy Whing’s side win, Banbury United will play in the second round for the first time in their history. 

The Puritans are flying high in the Southern League Central Premier and have won five games on the bounce. 

League Two Barrow are midtable, but are without a win in five and will be wary of this banana skin of a fixture.

Banbury have won all of their qualifying games by one goal - a similarly narrow 2-1 in this game is available on Betfred for 16/1. 

Match odds: Banbury United 9/2, Draw 18/5, Barrow 4/9

Hayes & Yeading United vs Sutton United

Hosts Hayes & Yeading United have already taken two scalps on their way to this first round clash with Sutton United.

Paul Hughes’ side have already ended National League North pair Tonbridge Angels and Dorking Wanderers’ hopes of FA Cup glory this season.

The Step 7 side are second in the Southern League Premier South and have three games in hand on leaders Farnborough.  They’re unbeaten in the league thus far with a 90% win rate.

Sutton, in their first season as a League side, could now experience a giant killing from the opposite side.

The Yellows famously made it all the way to the fifth round of the competition in 2017 as a National League side, beating the likes of Leeds United along the way.

Now the boot’s firmly on the other foot, with an in-form Hayes & Yeading side looking to secure passage into round two. 

Sutton remain firm favourites with the bookies, but if you fancy Hayes to edge an upset, a 1-0 victory is available with Betfred at 18/1. 

Match odds: Hayes & Yeading 7/1, Draw 18/5, Sutton United 1/3

Chesterfield vs Southend United 

This is the pick of three all-National League cup ties with the clubs at opposite ends of the division.

The Spireites will go into the game as favourites, having already beaten the visitors 4-0 in their own back yard last month.  They’re currently second in the league. 

That victory forms part of a five match unbeaten league run, as well as knocking out new divisional leaders Boreham Wood in this competition’s fourth qualifying round. 

Southend will be buoyed by their midweek 4-1 victory over crisis club Dover Athletic, which moved them out of the relegation places. 

It’s been a mostly miserable season-to-date for The Shrimpers, but the cup could offer some respite.  The Dover win was new head coach Kevin Maher’s first for the club since taking over from the sacked Phil Brown. 

James Rowe’s side are heavily backed by the bookies, with a 3-0 win as low as 10/1.  

Match odds: Chesterfield 3 /5, Draw 11/4, Southend United 4/1 

Lincoln City vs Bowers & Pitsea 

A match criminally overlooked for TV coverage will see Bowers & Pitsea going under the radar against League One’s Lincoln City.

The Isthmian Premier side have made it to this stage for the first time in their history and dispatched National League side Aldershot Town to do so.

Rob Small’s side’s Cup exploits are not mirrored in the league, with the club in a lowly 19th place with only two wins on the board.

The FA Cup clearly brings something different out in Small’s team, who have won four games to get to this stage.  

Lincoln are in average form,  having lost only one of six previous games. However, they’ve only won two of the others, suggesting they’re hard to beat but lacking a killer instinct.

They will be hoping the four steps between the two sides is evident on Saturday, and will be looking for a comfortable victory.

If you think Bowers can take the game to a replay, Betfred are offering 50/1 for a 2-2 final score.

Match odds: Lincoln City 1/11, Draw 7/1, Bowers & Pitsea 20/1

Portsmouth vs Harrow Borough 

Harrow Borough are another club looking to bridge a four-step gap as they have a big day out at Fratton Park.

Another club to have battled through four rounds to get here, they have already taken out higher ranked opposition in Welling United and Chelmsford City. 

Steve Baker’s side have established themselves as playoff contenders with four straight victories in the Southern League Premier South.

An unlikely win would take them into the second round for just the second time, ten years after the first. 

It’s a sign how far the club have fallen that it’s no longer a surprise to see 2008 winners Portsmouth enter at this stage. 

Pompey are midtable in League One, and are consistently inconsistent so far this season. A 4-0 win over Sunderland was followed by back-to-back defeats to Rotherham United and Ipswich Town, shipping four goals each time. 

Home manager Danny Cowley has form in this competition, having taken Lincoln City all the way to the quarter finals. Then still a National League side, he will be hoping to quietly dispatch Harrow as is expected.

If you fancy a real shock result in the first ever meetings between the two clubs, Betfred are offering 33/1 for a 2-1 away win. 

Match odds: Portsmouth 1-6, Draw 11/2, Harrow Borough 12/1

Who do you think will spring a surprise this weekend?  Will Solihull Moors knock out 2013 winners Wigan Athletic? How about a win for King’s Lynn, at home to Walsall?  Let us know across social media.

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