AFC Fylde visit Exeter City’s St James Park for the first time in their history on Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup First Round. 

Wins against Hyde United, Farsley Celtic and Altrincham have seen The Coasters progress into the first round of the FA Cup for the sixth time since they were founded in 1988.

Last season, Bentley experienced the magic of the cup, when he guided The Coasters all the way to Round Three, at which point they were knocked out by Premier League opposition Sheffield United at Brammall Lane. 

With that experience still fresh in his mind, Bentley wants more of the same this season, both for his players and for the financial reward it will provide the club. 

“There are the financial implications of doing well in the FA Cup; we saw that last time when the club went to the Third Round Proper for the first time in its history.

“They’ve changed the structure of the prize money around this time around, and we’ve had to come through three qualifying rounds, so it’s been a bit different than what we are used to in that respect.

“We went to Sheffield United last year with a gameplan and nearly pulled it off. We knew that we’d have to sacrifice certain bits and elements in the game, but we gave ourselves a shot, and we were actually unlucky not to take it to extra time or penalties. 

“We’ve got a taste of it now, and we want more.”

Saturday’s opponents, Exeter City, currently sit 4th in League Two, and are on a 10 game unbeaten run which goes back to 12th September when they lost 2-0 to Port Vale. Bentley is fully aware of their capabilities after getting insight from his former team, Morecambe, who battled to a 2-2 draw with them on Tuesday night. 

“It’s a really tough tie against a good side. They haven’t lost in ten games, so it will be a big ask for us – but why not? 

“There will certainly be upsets up and down the country and hopefully we will be one of them. It’s the FA Cup – anything can happen. 

“It’s a long trip, but the club do everything that they can here to make sure our preparations are right. The Chairman and Chief Executive are really big on that. We will be doing everything that we can to prepare in the right manner, be professional as we can, so that come Saturday afternoon we have given ourselves the best opportunity to win the game.

“I’ve had some really good battles with Exeter over the years, and it’s a place that I’ve always looked forward to going down to. You are always guaranteed a tough game. 

“It’s a nice place to go and play football, a good playing surface, a good club. We know exactly what we are coming up against. It’s not by fluke that they are ten games unbeaten, and it goes without saying that they are one of the favourites in the division. We are under no illusions, it’s going to be a tough game. 

“In saying that, we are going there with the belief that we can win the game. We have said that since day one, we will go into every game believing that we can win. We are in good form, so I doubt they will be looking forward to playing against us.”