Harrogate Town captain Josh Falkingham reacts to FA Cup draw against Luton Town

Harrogate Town were not handed the dream tie against a Premier League heavyweight that they were hoping for in the third round of the FA Cup.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 10:25 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 10:50 pm
Luton Town will host Harrogate Town in the third round of the FA Cup. Picture: Getty Images

Monday night's draw paired the League Two Sulphurites with Championship outfit Luton Town, whom they will visit between January 7 and 10 of next year.

The Wetherby Road club had never progressed beyond the second round prior to this season, but made history on Saturday afternoon when they dumped League One Portsmouth out of the competition courtesy of a 2-1 victory at Fratton Park.

Quite naturally, that success had Town's players, management and supporters hoping for a money-spinning glamour tie next time out. And, although a trip to Kenilworth Road doesn't exactly fall into the category, club captain Josh Falkingham insists that he and his team-mates have still been presented with the opportunity to test themselves against a side "filled with real quality."

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Harrogate Town captain Josh Falkingham in the thick of the action during Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup second round victory over Portsmouth.

"It's a difficult draw, if I'm being honest," the 31-year-old former Leeds United midfielder told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"All the lads were talking in our WhatsApp group during the draw. We were saying 'there's still a lot of Premier League clubs left, some of the big teams still in the hat'. There was a lot of excitement.

"We've been pulled out alongside Luton, but it is an opportunity to test ourselves against really good Championship opposition. I don't know too many of their players, but I know that a team doing as well as they are in that division will be filled with real quality.

"It is going to be an extremely tough challenge, however it is one that we are really looking forward to. We went to Portsmouth and played very well, deservedly won that game and caused an upset. We've got a taste for it now.

"So, we'll go there with a lot of belief. I know a lot fans will travel down with us and we'll be aiming to make it another amazing day for both them and us."

Falkingham, who is into his fifth season as a Harrogate player, has run out at Kenilworth Road previously and has some idea of what to expect when the Sulphurites visit Bedfordshire in the New Year.

"I played there in an FA Youth Cup game when I was at Leeds," he added.

"It's an old-school ground with a lot of history. I'm sure it's changed a bit since I was last there but, I know it's a difficult place to go."

Luton currently sit 12th in the Championship, 42 places higher than Harrogate, who occupy seventh spot in League Two.

Managed by Nathan Jones, the Hatters have played their football in the second tier of English football since 2019. This term they have won seven, drawn seven and lost seven of their 21 Championship fixtures.

They reached the final of the FA Cup in 1959, only to lose out 2-1 to Nottingham Forest. They would however go one better in 1988, winning the League Cup by beating Arsenal 3-2.