FOR a man who has 40-plus England caps and numerous international goals to his name, the FA Cup preliminary round might not seem all that glamorous.

But try telling beach soccer king Gary Funnell.

Son of former Cherries and Saints star Tony, the 29-year-old Wimborne Town man is determined to grab another moment in the limelight on the grass.

And he sees the world’s greatest domestic knockout competition as an ideal route to the big stage.

Funnell, who has made his name on the sand in recent years, is no stranger to FA Cup success stories.

During his time with Salisbury, he played in front of more than 11,000 spectators after helping City progress from the qualifying stages to the first round proper.

An Adam Proudlock hat-trick condemned Funnell and his fellow non-league hopefuls to a 4-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

But he would love a second shot at giant-killing glory.

“It is the FA Cup this weekend and everyone is gunning for that one,” said the midfield schemer, looking ahead to Magpies’ home tie against Godalming tomorrow (3pm).

“The last time I had a good run was when I was at Salisbury and we played Sheffield Wednesday in the first round in 2004.

“We played at Hillsborough and it was a good day out. I played and we lost 4-0, but it was pretty special.

“Getting any league club would be great because that is where most of our players at Wimborne always wanted to play.”

While Cuthbury is a far cry from Funnell’s experiences on the world stage, the former Poole Town talent believes beach soccer has stood him in good stead for life with Wimborne.

“It is a very different game and your reactions are probably needed a lot more than in grass football,” explained Funnell.

“It does help for playing on grass, I have to say. When you are playing on some of the bad pitches in non-league, you are already half-reacting to the bounce.”

Funnell has certainly hit the ground running since arriving in the Southern League Division One South & West.

Within one match, he managed to earn popularity among the club’s supporters – becoming a YouTube sensation in the process.

In scoring a majestic hat-trick in the opening-day win at Yate Town – all three goals came from long range – Funnell wasted no time in making his mark and collecting more than 750 views on the video-sharing website.

Wimborne will be hoping he gets to showcase his skills in front of another large audience this weekend as the club looks to make the most of Non-League Day.

The idea of the nationwide event is to have a celebration of the semi-professional and amateur game, offering supporters of bigger clubs the chance to experience football at a lower level.

Magpies boss Steve Cuss has injury concerns ahead of the clash, with captain Scott Arnold, Cherries loanee Dan Strugnell and player-assistant manager Paul Roast all facing late fitness tests.

Cherries loan man Alex Parsons (hamstring) has already been ruled out.

Magpies: (from) Harvell, Roast, Arnold, Murray, Strugnell, Jordan, Jamison, Dear, Cullen, Magookin, Funnell, Webb, Kemble, Cream, Hunt, Lynch, Mills, Ackerman.