Former Newcastle United Under-23s captain Owen Bailey has revealed his excitement as he approaches his first ever FA Cup first round tie with Gateshead.
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Bailey played an integral role as the Heed battled their way past Northern Premier League East Division high-flyers Marske United to set up Saturday’s first round date with Altrincham.
For all of the progress Bailey has made throughout the early part of his career, the tie represents his first experience of the “proper rounds” of the FA Cup - and he admitted he sees it as “a great moment” for everyone at the International Stadium.
He told The Gazette: “Along with everyone else at the club, I am really looking forward to the game.
“Personally, it’s a real achievement and hopefully I will be involved because, if I am, it will be a massive thing for me.
“Everyone knows the importance of the FA Cup and it’s a big deal for us to get into the first round.
“I dreamed about playing in it as a kid and that is why Saturday is such a big deal.
“We are hopeful we can do well and hopefully we can continue our progress in the competition.”
Altrincham arrive on Tyneside on the back of three consecutive but remain firmly in the hunt for a play-off place in non-league’s top tier.
Gateshead will hope to join them as they bid for promotion in the National League North this season - and Bailey believes Saturday’s tie will offer the Heed a chance to see where they lie in terms of their own progression.
“We know they are a good National League side so it’s going to be a big test,” he explained.
“It’s one we are really looking forward to because we like to think we will give any side a game here.
“We think we can do that on Saturday, it’s a good test because we want to be in their league as soon as possible and it can be an indicator of where we are at in terms of our progression.”
Gateshead’s FA Cup clash with Altrincham at the International Stadium kicks-off at 3pm on Saturday.