HARWICH and Parkeston hero Sam Felgate is relishing the prospect of making his first-ever FA Cup appearance.

The goalkeeper and his team-mates are preparing for an eagerly-awaited extra preliminary round tie at Essex Senior League side Ilford.

The sides will meet at the Cricklefield Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Felgate cannot wait and will head down the A12 in confident mood, following his man-of-the-match performance and penalty save in Tuesday’s Thurlow Nunn League draw against Holland FC.

“It’s massive for the club and also on an individual level, because not many of our boys have been lucky enough to play in the FA Cup before,” he said.

“I personally haven’t so it’ll be great to be involved and represent the club and town in such a famous competition.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and we really want to go there and win, to get through to the next round.

“It should be a competitive game against a side from a similar level.

“Hopefully we can go there and do ourselves proud.”

Tomorrow’s game comes a decade after Harwich’s last appearance in the world-famous competition - a 4-1 defeat at London Colney in August 2009.

If they successfully clear their extra preliminary round hurdle, they will be at home to Romford.

Kieron Shelley’s side will be hoping to build on Tuesday’s entertaining 1-1 draw against Holland.

Dan Clark notched their close-range equaliser and it came after Felgate saved a first-half penalty from Louie Newland.

“I had a few saves to make and it was nice to keep the penalty out,” said Felgate.

“I had a strong feeling he was going to shoot that way because of the way he was shaping his body.

“It’s a great thing to happen so early in the season, when we’re still a bit rusty, because it gives you confidence.

“We were under the cosh for a while. It was backs to the wall.

“The Holland boys have played together for a long while but we’re a new group.

“We’ve made some positive additions over the summer but, of course, it’s going to take time to gel and bed in, certainly at a competitive level.

“That’s why it was such a good point.

“Holland are a tough, physical team.

“They put the ball in good areas and know what they’re doing with it.

“Overall, we dealt with them well, though.

“It would have been nice to cause them a few more problems in the final third and one individual error led to their goal but that happens. Overall, it was a decent point.”

While football is his top priority, Felgate also featured for title-chasing Harwich and Dovercourt Cricket Club during the close season, in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.

The Ships are top of division five and have won every home match so far.

“I played six or seven matches for them this season and it’s great to see the team doing so well,” said Felgate.

“I’d be shocked if they didn’t go on and win the title because they’re comfortably the best team in the league.

“They look solid and it would be great for the town.

“Football has always been my priority but I love my cricket and enjoy being around the lads. It’s a great group.”

Meanwhile, tomorrow’s FA Cup tie promises to be a special occasion for Shrimpers stalwart Nicky Palmer.

Palmer played in the club’s last cup tie a decade ago, against Colney Heath.

“I’d only recently made my debut and had no idea what to expect,” he said.

“After a difficult pre-season with new managers, a whole new squad and a lot of young, inexperienced players we were excited but, looking back, extremely naive.

“Problems off the field are easy to see in hindsight but, at the time, we were euphoric.

“We were hoping to make our mark in the cup but the feeling of elation was soon over, after losing 4-1.

“This time around, we have the right managers in place, the club are certainly on the up and we have a good mix of experience and youth.

“It would be fantastic to have a little cup run, both for the players and financially for the club.

“I just want everyone to enjoy the experience and look to give a good account of themselves.

“A win would be a bonus and it’s certainly not out of the question.”