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FA Cup: Former AFC Bournemouth prospect Carl Preston aiming to shine on big stage
Preston made two appearances in League Two for Cherries in December 2008 but was released by the Dean Court outfit after serving his apprenticeship.
The wide man, who has netted 70 goals in 234 Poole appearances, has attracted interest from the likes of Exeter and Reading since dropping out of the pro ranks.
Preston, 22, is available for tomorrow evening’s fourth qualifying round replay against Staines after missing Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Wheatsheaf Park through suspension.
And with a trip to League One big guns Brentford awaiting the winners of the replay at Tatnam (7.45pm), Preston is determined to impress on the big stage.
He told the Daily Echo: “It is a good spotlight, not just for me but for other young players like Will Spetch, who could go higher.
“Everyone wants to play as high as they can and you can get great coverage for (FA Cup) games. Hopefully, some of us can make the most of it.”
Previewing the clash with Staines, Preston added: “Having to watch the game on Saturday was frustrating but I have to learn not to pick up silly yellow cards. This is a second chance and, hopefully, I can get the chance to turn the game for the team.
“Each year at Poole, we have been aiming for the first round and, hopefully, this will be our year to make it.”
Poole boss Tom Killick has slammed referees for not defending Preston after he was forced to miss Saturday’s initial cup showdown after collecting five yellow cards this season.
Killick told the Daily Echo: “As a winger at this stage of the season, Carl Preston should not be missing a game through five bookings. But I must admit, he is largely targeted by the opposition.
“From time to time, he reacts. I don’t think referees treat him well. I don’t think he gets properly protected.”
Meanwhile, Killick is warning his players that the hard work is far from over against Staines.
He said: “We definitely created the better chances on Saturday so we can take heart from that, but Staines will feel they are capable of playing better. I expect them to improve so I don’t see that we have done the hard bit by drawing away from home. We will need to do that and more tomorrow night.”
Southern Premier outfit Poole will be bidding to claim £12,500 in prize money against Staines and reach the first round for the first time in 30 years.
Staines, who play one level above the Dolphins in Conference South, will also have no lack of motivation as they aim to book a trip to Griffin Park, with their manager Marcus Gayle having enjoyed two spells with the Bees during his playing career.
Preston is in line to return but Poole captain Dan Cann serves the second of his two-match ban, while fellow frontman Richard Gillespie (heel) again looks set to miss out.
Dolphins: (from) Hutchings, Clarke, Spetch, Cummings, Whisken, Pettefer, Davies, Oliver, Devlin, Byerley, Chiedozie, Brooks, Elliott, Dibba, Richardson, Charles, Parrett, Preston, Turner, Thomas.
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