The draw for the First Round of the FA Cup takes place tonight, with Argyle entering the competition at this stage alongside the rest of Leagues One and Two.

There are also 32 Non-League sides remaining who join the 48 clubs entering the competition. Below we’ve picked out five clubs of interest who could be drawn against Argyle.

Clubs like Yeovil Town, Torquay United and Chesterfield who everyone knows have been ignored for this list, with the focus put on clubs you may not be aware of.

 

Banbury United

Oxfordshire side Banbury United may not be a side that stand out to many people, but their management team of former Oxford duo Andy Whing and player-assistant manager James Constable makes them a team that catches the eye.

Between them Whing and Constable have hundreds of football league appearances to their name. Their squad also boasts vastly experienced centre back Kelvin Langmead, former Milton Keynes midfielder Giorgio Rasulo and former Newport striker Jaanai Gordon.

Banbury are currently in the Southern League Central division in the seventh tier in the pyramid. Their journey to the first round this season started in the first qualifying round and has seen them beat Carlton Town, Leamington, Peterborough Sports and Bury Town.

The Oxfordshire side have made the first round on two previous occasions, in 1973/74 and 1972/73, but lost to Northampton and Barnet on those occasions, meaning they have equalled their best run in the competition this season.

 

Cray Valley Paper Mills

2018/19 FA Vase runners up Cray Valley Paper Mills came from 2-0 down to beat National League side Maidenhead United on Saturday to reach the first round for the first time in the club’s history.

Former Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient forward Kevin Lisbie played for Cray Valley in their FA Vase final season but has since retired from football. Lisbie is not the only bigger name player to have featured for Cray in the past, with Patrick Agyemang and ex-Argyle left back Matty Parsons also having brief spells at the club.

The London, or Kent – depending on who you ask, based club currently play in the Isthmian League South East division, in the eighth tier of the pyramid.

Having entered the competition in the preliminary round this season, Cray Valley have already beaten VCD Athletic, Burgess Hill Town, Harrow Borough and Aveley, before their win at Maidenhead on Saturday.

 

Eastbourne Borough

East Sussex based Eastbourne Borough have some surprising names in their squad for a side in the sixth tier of the pyramid. Former Leyton Orient winger Dean Cox, former Stevenage and Peterborough winger Chris Whelpdale, and former Crawley Town playmaker Sergio Torres are all contracted to Eastbourne.

All three have had their best years in football, but the talent and experience of these players could make them a formidable opponent in a one-off game. The squad is lacking in names in other areas, but does also contain James Ferry and Greg Luer, who have both played in the Football League in the past.

Borough last made it to the first round in 2016/17, where they lost 7-0 to Braintree Town, but have never made the second round.

Their route to this stage of the competition has seen them beat Dorking Wanderers, Sheppey United and Dulwich Hamlet.

 

Skelmersdale United

To be honest, the main reason for picking Skelmersdale United is that they are the club where Craig Noone started playing. The club currently plays in the North West Counties League Premier Division, the ninth tier of the pyramid, and completed one of the biggest upsets of the final qualifying round, beating Stafford Rangers from three divisions higher.

Back in September Skelmersdale were knocked out of the first qualifying round of the FA Vase by Stockport Town, making their achievement look even greater.

United’s route to the first round has been long, starting in the Extra Preliminary Round, and has seen them beat Penistone Church, Congleton Town, Bootle, Lancaster City and Longridge Town, before their victory against Stafford Rangers.

The highest ranked of those teams is Lancaster City, a side that contains former Argyle midfielder David Norris, who play in the Northern Premier League meaning they have had a favourable run of fixtures, but there is still a two division gap between the two sides.

 

South Shields

A possible 816 mile-round trip for either side, this would be the longest journey possible in the First Round this season. The Mariners have reached the First Round for the first time since reforming in 1974, after the previous South Shields club merged with Gateshead. This South Shields side is actually the third South Shields club, after the original club moved to Gateshead and changed its name in 1930.

Argyle and South Shields have met in the FA Cup before. An away Third Round tie in 1926/27, against the original South Shields side, which The Mariners won 3-1.

Shields, who were on course for promotion to the National League North before their season was suspended last year, have beaten higher division sides Southport and Halifax, as well as Ashton United and Warrington Town, to make it this far and will likely provide a stern test for any opposition in the next round.

The ambitious South Tyneside club have a squad packed full of experience of playing in higher divisions, achieved by attracting some of the highest attendances in Non-League over recent seasons, even when playing in the 10th, ninth and eighth tier, before reaching their current level in the Northern Premier League.

Teams with ex-Argyle players:

AFC Fylde: Nick Chadwick (Assistant Manager)

Bromley: Tom Purrington

Chesterfield: Kyle Letheren

Dagenham & Redbridge: Luke Croll

Hartlepool United: Ryan Donaldson

Havant & Waterlooville: Simon Walton

Oxford City: Ross Jenkins (Coach)

Woking: Ben Gerring

Potential Non-League Opponents by tier in the pyramid:

National League: Barnet, Boreham Wood, Bromley, Chesterfield, Dagenham & Redbridge, Eastleigh, Hartlepool United, Kings Lynn Town, Solihull Moors, Torquay United, Woking, Yeovil Town

National League North/South: AFC Fylde, Brackley Town, Chorley, Concord Rangers, Darlington, Eastbourne Borough, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Havant & Waterlooville, Oxford City, Tonbridge Angels

Tier seven: Banbury United, FC United of Manchester, Hayes & Yeading United, South Shields

Tier eight: Canvey Island, Cray Valley Paper Mills, Maldon & Tiptree, Marine

Tier nine: Skelmersdale United

 

Fixture still to be played:

Tonight: (Tier seven) Bishop’s Stortford v St Albans City (National League South)

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