HOLDERS East Preston Football Club were unable to raise a side for their Peter Bentley Cup tie with Arundel on Tuesday evening.
EP were short of players owing to injury and illness, while other players have left the club after Dominic Di Paola took over as Hastings’ boss last weekend.
East Preston won new manager Sammy Donnelly’s first game in charge, 4-1 at Selsey on Saturday, but they were unable to field a side on Tuesday and Mullets will probably receive a walk-over win into the next round.
EP football chairman Terry Doyle said: “We were just short of players and have no cover at the moment. We had a number of players unavailable and will just take it on the chin.
“We’ve got players lined up to come in but have given seven-day notices as we do things properly.
“It’s very disappointing as we had hoped to be the last team to win the cup in its old name and the first club to win it as the Peter Bentley Cup.
“I imagine Arundel will be awarded the tie, as it will be regarded as us not fulfilling the fixture. However, I see no reason why we won’t play on Saturday as we’ll have a number of players signed on by then.”
EP won the competition last year when they beat Crowborough 1-0 in the final. They had reached the third round this year with a 4-0 victory over Worthing United.
Arundel assistant manager Craig Stuart said: “It was disappointing as we were looking forward to the game.
“It’s always nice to get through in the cup but you’d always rather win a game.
“We’ll have training as normal on Thursday now, ahead of a tough match at St Francis on Saturday. We’ve got a strong squad to pick from, with Max Thoms back from travelling and Lewis Jenkins back from injury.”