CHELMSFORD City boss Glenn Pennyfather hopes his side show the same credentials which shocked Colchester United in today’s FA Cup second round tie against Crawley Town.

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Donovan Simmonds’s brace and Jamie Slabber’s strike steered the Blue Square Bet South club to a historic 3-1 win over Colchester last month – the first encounter between the Essex sides for 44 years.

The Clarets, featuring in the FA Cup second round for the third straight year this afternoon (3pm kick-off), face League One outfit Crawley at Broadfield Stadium, with a third-round place and £27,000 prize money at stake.

Pennyfather’s side have not reached the third round since 1973, but wants his players to harness the belief they took from the Colchester victory to make it into tomorrow’s famous cup draw with Premier League opposition a tantalising proposition.

“I was immensely proud of the team after the Colchester win,” said Pennyfather.

“But we have to be on top form and hope Crawley are below par. We need to counter their strengths and exploit any weaknesses, with a little bit of added luck.

“Although we didn’t need luck against Colchester, and Joe Dunne [Colchester manager] was very complimentary of us after that game.

“We’re just going to go out there, enjoy the game and express ourselves. I know the players will give me their best, because they’re all honest lads.

“We’ve been in the second round for three years in a row now, so maybe this is third time lucky and we’ll make it through.”

Crawley, ninth in League One and 67 league places above the Clarets, struggled past lowly Metropolitan Police 2-1 in the last round – their only win in their last seven fixtures.

However, they have beaten Derby County, Hull City and Bristol City in the FA Cup in recent campaigns, and two seasons ago put up a spirited fight at Old Trafford, only losing 1-0 to Manchester United.

Pennyfather therefore accepts his counterpart Richie Barker will be all too aware of cup upsets, but maintains his side are fully prepared to pull off another one of their own.

“We’d have liked a home draw, but it’s not long since Crawley were non-league like us, so they’ll know all about giant killings,” added Pennyfather, whose side can expect 1,100 fans to make the away trip.

“There’s a gulf in league positions at the moment since their meteoric rise thanks to financial backing and the money from their own cup runs.

“They’re now a really top League One side.

“[But] I’ve seen them a couple of times and watched DVDs, so we’ll be doing all our usual homework so we can be as ready as we possibly can.”

Defenders Kenny Clark and Nicolas Bondon will both serve suspensions due to red cards against Basingstoke Town and Dover Athletic respectively.

Central midfielder David Bridges will also be missing through injury, but Pennyfather otherwise has the rest of his squad to select from.

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