Rebecca has Lowe-down on Argyle's cup tie at Dorchester
TV PRESENTER Rebecca Lowe is relishing the opportunity of experiencing the magic of the FA Cup up close and personal this weekend.
Lowe will be pitch-side presenting EPSN's live coverage of Plymouth Argyle's first round tie at Dorchester Town's Avenue Stadium on Sunday (4.30pm).
The 31-year-old will be the first face viewers see when they turn on their sets to watch the Dorset non-league team try to trip up the Pilgrims at the first hurdle, for the second year in succession.
ESPN televised Argyle's 2-0 defeat to part-timers Stourbridge in a replayed tie in the West Midlands last November.
Indeed, Lowe, despite her youth, is no stranger to cup encounters, albeit on a much grander scale than Sunday's eagerly-anticipated set-to, having created broadcasting history back in May.
Lowe became the first woman to host TV coverage of the FA Cup final at Wembley, in ESPN's broadcast of the Chelsea and Liverpool showdown.
However, Lowe makes light of the gender issue in TV and instead insisted she is a sports reporter first and a football supporter next, doing a job she loves.
And is very, very good at.
So Sunday in Dorset comes high on Lowe's list of wannabe places to be where she will exchange spatial Premier League stadia for somewhere she will have the fans breathing down her neck.
Former footballers Martin Keown and Craig Burley are expected to join Lowe on the ESPN desk which she will be fronting closer to the fans than most male presenters would fancy.
"I love the role of presenter and I love the fact Sunday's match is the first round of the FA Cup," said Londoner Lowe, who used to walk to school with England star Peter Crouch.
"I can only imagine what the atmosphere is going to be like close to kick-off and am really looking forward to experiencing it myself.
"This is a game that means so much to both clubs and their managers.
"It's like sailing into the unknown, really, as firstly, players, coaches and fans cannot say how their team are going to do on the day.
"Whoever gets past Sunday's match, is one tie away from the third round and a Manchester United or Arsenal at home.
"What could be more romantic and more nerve-wracking than that scenario?
"I love covering Premier League matches and big events, but the first round of the FA Cup is raw, honest and well, just so rewarding – and unpredictable.
"There's money to be made for all concerned by having a good cup run and that's important.
"But I believe that is furthest from the players' minds when it comes to match-day.
"They'll want to win the tie for themselves and for their fans – it's still about pride and ambition – and that's what makes the cup so special."
Lowe, who has made a name for herself by jousting with giants of the game like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, will be talking to the tie's winning manager post-match.
"That is a feature of our coverage, whichever team wins, we will want to speak to their manager," added Lowe.
"So, either Phil Simkin or Carl Fletcher will be asked to speak to me straight after the match and give their opinion.
"And I have no idea who I'll be talking to and neither do they or the fans and that's what makes this tie so special."