NINE league positions separate fourth-placed Winchester City from Saturday's FA Trophy preliminary round hosts Kidlington.

But Citizens’ boss Craig Davis expects a tougher tie than it looks on paper.

Although Kidlington have won just two league games out of seven, their first taste of success came with a 1-0 result at the Simplyhealth City Ground in the opening week of the season.

Winchester created chances galore but Lewis Coyle’s 24th-minute winner, coupled with a man-of-the-match performance by goalkeeper Sam Warrell, saw them end the night empty-handed.

While the consensus of opinion was that City were desperately unlucky to lose, Davis was impressed by Kidlington, who sit 14th in the Evo-Stik South West.

“They’re the best side we’ve played this season, 100 per cent,” he said. “They’re having a bit of a patchy time of it in the league, but they’re the team that’s caused us most problems going forward.

“We dominated much of the game and their ’keeper was man-of-the-match, but they were resolute, they tried to pass the ball around and they’ve got a bit of pace.

“It’s not going to be an easy tie, but it is what it is. We’re confident whoever we play.

“It’s no surprise we’re away from home. We’ve only played four home games this season, so this will be four out of 13.

“But we’re set up to counter-attack at pace, so we don’t mind where we go.”

Should they emerge triumphant on Saturday, City would be at home in the first qualifying round on October 28, however, with Slough Town due to visit the winners.

Winchester’s latest signing Joe Cook, a centre-back/central midfielder dual-signed from Poole Town, will not play in the Trophy.

The former Sheffield Wednesday under-18 player made his debut on Tuesday as an extremely young City side lost 4-1 to AFC Totton in the Challenge Cup.

“Joe did well, the whole team did,” said Davis. “Only two of our lads weren’t teenagers and we had seven 16-year-olds involved. I’m proud of the lads, they were right in it until the end (when Totton scored twice). It was a great experience for them.

"It was impressive and shows what a fantastic future the club has within our excellent youth set-up."