Croydon clubs are not quite up for the FA Cup

It’s 30 degrees outside and Andy Murray’s in the Wimbledon final, but for Croydon’s non-league football clubs, their attention is firmly on the upcoming football season – the draws for the FA Cup and the FA Vase are out.

FA VaseBoth clubs face the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup on August 17.

AFC Croydon Athletic was not allowed in the FA Cup last season as a newly formed, or reformed, club. Now they have a chance to have their own dream of going to Wembley as they travel to Colliers Wood United. AFC may fancy their chances against a team that was lowly placed in the league above them last season with “The Wood” losing 13 of their 21 home games.

If AFC progress they will host a Sussex League team at the Arena – the move to their own Mayfield Road ground has been delayed while rebuilding work continues – either Crowborough Athletic or high-flying East Preston.

Croydon FC’s first – and maybe last – FA Cup match of the season also involves a debutant club in the FA Cup as the Trams travel to Chessington’s notoriously boggy Chalky Lane ground to play Epsom Athletic.

Croydon FC went out at this stage last season, so Trams’ fans will worry that Epsom Athletic, who have had a meteoric rise from the lower Surrey leagues, will prove too great a challenge to a Croydon team denuded of players who have joined their former manager John Fowler at Whyteleafe.

If the Trams do overcome Epsom Athletic, a club one division below them, they could host Fowler’s Whyteleafe if the Caterham Valley side beat the strong Epsom and Ewell.

In the FA Vase, a knock-out competition for teams at levels 9 and 10 in the English league system, Croydon FC play Sussex League Division 2 side Seaford Town. The game is due to be played at Croydon Arena on September 7.

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