The Non-League Football Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND PREVIEW -

PREMIER ace Steve Wat­son be­lieves a good FA Cup run can help re­ju­ve­nate his new Gateshead side. Wat­son is no stranger to the world-re­nouned com­pe­ti­tion hav­ing played in the 1998 fi­nal at Wembley for New­cas­tle United against Arse­nal. On Satur­day, his Heed side en­ter­tain Na­tional League South pro­mo­tion-chal­lengers Chelms­ford City at the In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium. Wat­son has al­ready tasted cup success at Non-League level. Last sea­son, he was as­sis­tant man­ager at Mac­cles­field Town as they shocked Wal­sall, while also lead­ing Macc back to Wembley in the FA Tro­phy Fi­nal. Now he wants his new Heed side to use the com­pe­ti­tion as a spring­board to greater things. “It’s a fantastic com­pe­ti­tion and it gave me some of the best days of my ca­reer,” he said. “For teams in our league, it’s about the fairy­tale isn’t it? It captures the imag­i­na­tion and it gives you a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence some things that you can’t in the league. “We had some great ex­pe­ri­ences at Mac­cles­field last sea­son, beat­ing Wal­sall at their place and then nar­rowly los­ing to Ox­ford. “Things like that can re­ju­ve­nate a club and I hope we can go through the same ex­pe­ri­ences start­ing on Satur­day.” Chelms­ford travel to the north-east in fine­form and are one of four clubs sat on 28 points at the top of the Na­tional League South. Gateshead have had them watched in re­cent weeks and Wat­son be­lieves his side are in for a tough test against the Clarets. “We have had peo­ple watch­ing Chelms­ford City and they are do­ing very well in their league. “They are com­pet­i­tive and they play a sim­i­lar style of foot­ball to Dover, who we played this week­end, so it’s a game against some very hun­gry play­ers. “They will want to prove that they can play at a higher level by beat­ing us. It will be com­pet­i­tive and we have to match them in ev­ery de­part­ment.”

WEMBLEY WAY: Steve Wat­son reached the 1998 FA Cup fi­nal with New­cas­tle United

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