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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Eastleigh should put Hereford in their place

Eastleigh supporters get in the mood
1 of 1

Kick-offs 3pm Saturday

Hereford United pulled off one of the most memorable shocks in FA Cup history when Ronnie Radford's long-range screamer dumped Newcastle out of the competition in February 1972 but their successor club, Hereford FC, may struggle to spring a surprise when travelling to Eastleigh for a fourth qualifying-round tie.

Rapid progress has been made by Hereford FC, who have won back-to-back promotions since they were founded in December 2014.

They inherited the Edgar Street ground of Hereford United, wound up in 2014, and are averaging attendances of more than 2,500 in the Southern Premier League where they are third in the table, just two points behind leaders Kettering.

A third successive promotion looks possible but Hereford still have a long way to go before competing on a level playing field with the professional clubs.

Eastleigh have been among the biggest spenders in the National League in recent seasons but are struggling to mount a serious promotion push.

They have slipped to 18th after back-to-back defeats and could do with a decent FA Cup run to boost the coffers and lift morale.

However, the gap in quality between the National League and the Southern Premier (step three on the National League system) is significant and there is value in siding with Eastleigh to progress without needing a replay.

There is also a two-division gap separating Northern Premier side Buxton from National League Gateshead, who do battle at The Silverlands.

Football tipping columns

Mark Langdon

Dan Childs

Kevin Pullein

Gateshead are adjusting to the departure of long-term manager Neil Aspin, who joined Port Vale earlier this month.

Former Newcastle player Steve Watson has won the race to replace Aspin and should have picked up plenty of knowledge from his time working as assistant manager to John Askey at Macclesfield.

Watson, who inherits a team 16th in the standings, will be keen to get off to a good start and should come up with a winning formula against the Bucks, who are mid-table in the Northern Premier having lost three of their last five league games.

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A third successive promotion looks possible but Hereford still have a long way to go
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