Bishop Auckland are hoping to pull off a shock against Pickering from the EvoStik League East in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup today – and pick up nearly £3,000 in the process.

FA Cup prize money has been doubled this season, which means that a club starting at this stage can win three matches and pocket nearly £12,000 – a huge windfall for clubs at this level.

Bishops have had a great start to the season with wins over Whickham and North Shields, and currently top the table with six points, a position which has boosted their confidence immensely going into today’s game.

“We’ve started the season well, and this will be Pickering’s first competitive game so we’re hopeful of making that count,” said manager Ian Chandler. “We expect a good game, and hopefully a win.”

Defender Niall McGoldrick is unavailable today, so he’s replaced by Aidan Hart. However, Kyle Fryatt, Chris Salmon, Michael Hoganson and Kyle Patton will all have fitness tests.

Northallerton are also up against another team from outside the area, Garforth from the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

Manager Darren Trotter said; “We are excited to be back in the Cup after not being in it last season. We’re playing an unknown quantity from a division above so it will be a difficult tie. We feel that we are playing well and have a chance to progress.”

Trotter will have a full squad to choose from.

West Auckland go to Washington, a division below them, in their all Northern League tie, and hoping to go one better than the first hurdle, where they fell to Penrith last season.

Manager Gary Forrest will have a full squad, and says; “We’re keen to make sure that we build on Tuesday’s win at Ryhope.”

The game pitches brother against brother – Jamie of West and Nathan of Washington.

Newton Aycliffe also have an all Northern League tie at Guisborough, and they have a fitness doubt over striker Kurt Matthews.

Manager Deano Browne said; “The FA Cup is the game you look forward to the most during pre-season and we know how much the game means to both clubs. Guisborough are a good side with good players and it's a tough place to go, but we are confident we can cause them problems.”

In the second division, Willington head for new club Redcar Athletic, who came up from the Wearside League last season, and both of them are looking for their first points of the season. Willington are aiming to recover from a 4-0 defeat at Crook in midweek.

Brandon, who have picked up one point from their two games this season, are at home to Billingham Town, and are hoping to make three new signings before the game, while Jordan Lee has returned to the club after a brief spell at Bishop Auckland.

Billingham have scored nine times in their first two matches, with striker Craig Hutchinson scoring four of them.

Crook go to Jarrow, boosted by their 4-0 home win over local rivals Willington in midweek, and looking for revenge for their 4-1 home defeat by Jarrow on the opening day.

Manager Jamie Tunstall has got several players missing and said; “Last Saturday was really disappointing, but Jarrow came with a plan which worked, and they deserve credit for that. We were a different animal on Wednesday and the lads were superb against Willington, a local derby with plenty at stake. The lads want to put last Saturday right and playing Jarrow so quickly is probably a good thing for us.”

Durham City, who are unbeaten in their first two games are at home to Thornaby, and include two new signings, Matthew Halliday and Manuel Fantin, while Harry Spence and David Gibson both return to the squad.

Manager Mike Weston said; “We’ve had two tough games to start the season, and to be honest I think we have surprised a few people who thought that we would be a pushover being a new team. We are getting stronger as a team on and off the field.”

Thornaby currently have six points from six.

Tow Law are at Ryton and Crawcrook, and hoping to bounce back from their 5-0 defeat at Birtley in midweek. Adam Nicholls, Kai Hewitson, Fraser Briggs and Liam Whitworth all return to the squad.

Chester-le-Street are at home to Esh Winning, and manager Colin Wake will be missing Mark Peck, Joe Grant and Owen Henderson, but Jack Wilson and Jack Oliver both return.

Chester manager Colin Wake said; “After a good first two games, we are looking to continue with the solid performances and take nothing for granted.”

Esh manager Tony Boakes said; “It will be very tough for us because we have several players away on holiday, but we will be competing as always.”

Esh have signed Leon Kane, but he’s serving a suspension carried over from last season.