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Fleet Life with Ed Miller: FA Cup already getting under my skin...but at least we're not Dover

PUBLISHED: 18:00 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:11 23 August 2010

THE FLEET S forthcoming schedule is not really what the doctor ordered off the back of three successive defeats - a home game against a resurgent Torquay, unbeaten in eight games, followed by a tricky tie in our favourite competition of the 21st century.

THE FLEET'S forthcoming schedule is not really what the doctor ordered off the back of three successive defeats - a home game against a resurgent Torquay, unbeaten in eight games, followed by a tricky tie in our favourite competition of the 21st century.

The next fortnight could be pivotal to our season. While the surrender of a possible nine points hasn't been quite as damaging as it could have been, the gap to the play-offs is now an uncomfortable seven points - one we really can't afford to let get much wider.

A loss to Torquay would leave them eight points clear of us - which when you think we had a 10-place lead over them in early September - is quite some reversal of fortune.

Still, the end of the world it is not. Liam Daish's teams have shown the ability to bounce back from dodgy spells before, not least the victory over Oxford in 2006 which ended their unbeaten streak and a run of three defeats for the Fleet.

A repeat performance this weekend, ending Torquay's run and our own unwelcome three-in-a-row, would be the perfect response.

Speaking of unwelcome records, this week marks the beginning of my annual two-week period of mourning - you know, the bit between our depressing FA Cup draw and subsequent exit from the competition where I bang on ad nauseam about how unfortunate we are.

Once again, this year's draw isn't exactly one to have them dancing in the streets of Ebbsfleet. I'm happy to avoid those Hornchurch-style banana skins (away to Dover, Maidstone, Wimbledon, that kind of thing), but wonder why we can never just get one of those fluffy sounding teams like AFC Totton at home or the curious Leiston, who sound more like a skin complaint than a football team.

Woking should hold no fears, of course, as on our day we're more than capable of getting a draw at the very least, which would be progress of sorts in this competition.

But it really isn't the easiest tie in the world either and you do wonder about the Fleet's luck in recent seasons. Three ties away at up-and-coming in-form lower-league sides, with two ties against Conference opposition either side of those, and now another in the form of Woking.

I have my suspicions about the draw to be honest. From the first round on we see the draw happening on TV, together with a "celebrity guest".

But the fourth qualifying round could be carried out by a couple of drunks in a pub during a lock-in for all we know.

I rather suspect that each season the FA's "special guest" is a long-standing arch-enemy of ours like George Borg, Jeff King or a Dartford fan and that the Fleet's ball in the velvet bag is in fact replaced by a hot potato to make it easier to pick when required.

It could be worse I suppose. We could be Dover fans, with just two appearances in the first round in more than 30 years. We've some way to go to be quite as dreadful as that.

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