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AFC Sudbury legend Andrew Claydon insists current crop of players should not fear FA Cup opponents Colchester United



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‘You never know’ – that was Andrew Claydon’s response when asked whether AFC Sudbury could pull off the unthinkable against Colchester United in the Emirates FA Cup on Friday night.

Claydon knows all about representing the club in the first round proper, having been a part of the only other Sudbury side to have reached that stage of the competition back in the 2000/01 season.

The striker – nicknamed Porky – actually scored the tie’s first goal away at then Division Two outfit Darlington before the professional hosts racked up six goals without a reply.

Andrew Claydon spent a number of successful seasons with AFC Sudbury
Andrew Claydon spent a number of successful seasons with AFC Sudbury

Reflecting on that day in the north east, Claydon said: “It was surreal. We turned up and they had all the bells and whistles there – the changing rooms, the ground, the supporters.

“I don’t actually think the result did us justice. I scored and we had a couple of other chances before the goals started going in.

“Looking back now I think it was the fitness that was the difference. After about the hour mark they took control.

Andrew Claydon (10) won numerous honours and appeared in a handful of FA Vase finals for AFC Sudbury.
Andrew Claydon (10) won numerous honours and appeared in a handful of FA Vase finals for AFC Sudbury.

“But it was great for the club. We were non-league, but we were looked after like professionals. We had the tracksuits and things like that – we wanted for nothing. So as players it meant a lot to give the club a day like that – it was an amazing achievement.”

But what chance of the group of 2021/22 going one better than Claydon and his team-mates and making it through to the second round?

Sudbury’s second highest goalscorer of all time said: “With the run they’re on, they must be playing with some real confidence.

“They should fear nobody at this stage because there is nothing for them to lose. As long as they leave it all out on the pitch, that’s all they can do.

“It’s a one-off game so you never know. If they get that little bit of luck you need, there’s always a shock in the FA Cup.

“I remember Histon a few years ago. One thing led to another and all of a sudden they’re beating Leeds.”

Like many, Claydon will be tuning into BBC2 to watch his former club as they bid to make history.

“Without a doubt (he’ll be watching),” said the club’s third highest appearance maker.

“I’m over the moon for them that it’s on TV. Obviously with so many ties it could have been anyone, but they deserve it. Hopefully they get a packed crowd and plenty watch on TV because it’s a great club.”

Sudbury line-up versus Darlington in November 2000: Walton, Stratton, Cornish, Tracey, Sims, Rayner, Cheetam, R. Devereux, B. Devereux, Claydon, Betson. Subs: Gardiner, Day, Saills, Hyde.

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