DOVER Athletic midfielder Jai Reason cannot wait to line up in the FA Cup first round clash he wanted this weekend.

Reason, who lives in Benfleet, would often watch Southend United during his youth.

And the 29-year-old is excited to be facing the Shrimpers on Sunday.

“I watched the draw at home with my wife and said I would love it if we got Southend so it was great when it happened,” said Reason.

“Ideally it would’ve been nice for it to be at Roots Hall but it’s going to be good to play against them.

“I’m a big West Ham fan but I would often go and watch Southend when I was younger and I still do when I get the chance.

“I like to see them doing well and I really hope Sol Campbell can sort things out there but only after Sunday of course.”

Reason, who is a former King John School pupil, has been with Dover since October 2018.

And he feels the Kent club are coming back into form heading into Sunday’s clash which is being shown live on BT Sport.

“We got off to a really good start but then had a bit of a blip a month or so ago,” said Reason.

“But we’ve taken four points from the last two games and want to kick on from there now so we can try and make the play-offs.”

In contrast, Southend are struggling towards the foot of the League One table and head to the Crabble Stadium without a win in their last nine games.

But Reason is unsure whether it is a good time to face Blues.

“It could go two ways with Southend really but they have good players who are likely to be more athletic than us and sharper upstairs too,” said the midfielder.

“But it’s the FA Cup and anything can happen. Lower teams can find an extra five or 10 per cent and it’s a level playing field when teams meet in this competition.

“We are obviously hoping it’s a good time to play Southend but we’re fully aware of how difficult the game will be for us.”

The clash will also be the first time Reason has faced Blues in a competitive fixture. But he does already have fond memories of a Shrimpers matchday.

Reason said: “When I was at school we won a penalty shoot-out competition at half-time during a Southend game and because it was sponsored by Walkers we won a year’s worth of crisps!

“This time it’s slightly different and the carrot dangling in front of us is a second round match.

“I got to the third round when I was with Eastleigh and we drew Bolton but it would be great to get there again with Dover and get Manchester United or West Ham away. But we can’t think beyond Sunday right now.”