Orient tie can remind city it has a club to be proud of
THE battle to survive will be put to one side for one day at least when Gloucester City chairman Nigel Hughes sits down to savour Sunday's FA Cup clash with Leyton Orient.
And as much as Hughes is desperate to see his side claim a famous Cup upset, he is also hoping that the tie puts the club's current predicament firmly back in the headlines.
Homeless since the devastating floods of 2007 rendered Meadow Park uninsurable, City suffered a massive setback in their bid to return home at a planning meeting last month.
Their ambitious plans for a new £3million community stadium failed to gain planning approval as the council seeks more information about the proposed flood alleviation scheme.
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Keenly looking forward to Sunday's first round encounter, Hughes called it a "travesty" that the game was being played eight miles away from the place the club calls home.
"Without doubt it's a travesty that the game can't be played in Gloucester, it's the only sour note," Hughes said.
"The game will give the club a better profile and raises awareness within the city, hopefully it will make people understand that we do have a football club to be proud of.
"And within that club there are a lot of people working incredibly hard to ensure that club survives.
"Because that's the current crux of the matter. We can't talk about pushing on and aiming towards the Football League in our current situation.
"Until we can get back to Gloucester in our own ground it's just a case of survival as a club.
"If we were playing this game in Gloucester, you would probably be looking at a crowd of around 2,500 to 3,000.
"But because we're currently having to play in Cheltenham, I would be very happy to get a crowd of 1,500.
"We hope the council take notice of the tie and it reminds them that the city has a football club to be proud of and it's not just a rugby city as we were reminded in the planning meeting."
But when the match kicks off, Hughes will sit back in his seat and savour every minute of the encounter as a reward for his and the club's incessant hard work.
And with City on the hunt for a sixth successive home victory and opponents Orient in wretched form in League One, many of the ingredients for a famous upset are in place, not that Hughes is getting carried away.
"It's a fantastic week for the club and we perhaps deserve a bit of luck. The lads have battled away on the pitch, much like the club has battled off it," he said.
"We've tried our hardest to do well to maintain our position in the pyramid and this is just a nice distraction for us, and come what may, we will have a good day on Sunday.
"And who knows what can happen? If the lads can play to their full potential then they have a chance.
"You never know on the day, it depends on what City side turns up and what Orient side turn up."