Banbury and Canvey Island lead the way for a shot at FA Cup second round

Opening round offers the chance of a TV lifeline for some amid a Covid lockdown which sees 10 lower league clubs being treated as ‘elite’ competitors

When the Football Association announced this week that all activities for “non-elite” clubs would be suspended for a month, it caused a fright among the 10 lowest-ranked teams left in this weekend’s FA Cup first round. Happily, clarification soon came that those clubs would, in fact, be allowed to train in preparation and that dispensation will be maintained if they reach the second round, although they will not be allowed to contest league matches in the interim.

This, then, is a uniquely exciting and challenging time for those clubs, who come from step three or lower of the National League system.

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