LUKE Ballinger expects an emotional reunion with Gloucester City when he comes up against his old club in the FA Cup this weekend.
The Bluebirds’ winger spent just over a season with the Tigers and the 2008-2009 campaign was one to remember as Ballinger helped Gloucester clinch promotion to the Conference North via the Southern League Premier Division play-offs.
Now he is tasked with trying to help Chippenham reach the first round of the cup at the expense of his former side and Ballinger admits that he wasn’t relishing the meeting when the draw was made 10 days ago.
“One of the fans tweeted me before asking for the tie to come up on the Monday and I said that I didn’t want that but it’s come out now,” said Ballinger.
“I’ve got good memories of Gloucester because I got promoted with them. I wish them all the best and I always follow their results and get on well with the manager (Dave Mehew).
“I had a good year and Gloucester those memories will always be a part of your football career. I like the club, the fans are great and a couple of lads that I played with are still there.
“But Saturday is all about us and my priorities are with Chippenham and if it means we’ve got to knock them out, then we’ve got to knock them out. Let’s try and get into the first round.”
During his Tigers spell, Ballinger called Cirencester Town’s Corinium Stadium home but Gloucester have since moved on and he is looking forward to a day out at Cheltenham Town’s Whaddon Road ground.
He added: “Not just for us as players but for the fans too it’s going to be great to turn up to a proper football ground.
“Hopefully we can bring a few along and it’ll be a good day for everyone involved. If we can get a win, what a day it would be.
“We’ve been fairly lucky in the cup draws but now we’ve been put up against someone from a league above who are expected to beat us.
“We’ve got no pressure on us. Someone said to me the other day that they (Gloucester) haven’t been in the first round for 23 years – let’s hope we can make that 24.”