‘I left Newcastle just before Saudi takeover – now I want to cause FA Cup upset’

Non-league giant Ludwig Francillette is looking to heap more misery on beleaguered Reading and set up a potential reunion with former club Newcastle.

The 6ft3in defender from Guadeloupe spent a couple of years on Tyneside before being released shortly before the Saudi-led takeover, which has transformed the Magpies into Premier League big-hitters. Despite being limited to appearances in the EFL Trophy and the club’s under-23 side, he remains fond of the club and the area.

“The fans were great, they were good people and they made me feel welcome in the city,” the Eastleigh defender told Daily Star Sport ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup second round tie with Reading.

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“They love their football and they know about all the teams, the under-23s, the youth team. It was a good experience. I’ve got a lot of mates from Newcastle who are now playing at League One, League Two, some still at the club. I’m still following the club. It [the takeover] is a good thing for them.”

Eastleigh will be looking to join Newcastle in the third round draw by downing Reading, who sit second-bottom of League One having been docked points due to their financial crisis. Francillette, 24, scored twice as Eastleigh battered fellow National League side Boreham Wood in the first round.

Where will the upsets come in the FA Cup second round this weekend? Tell us in the comments section below

“I scored two, yeah,” he chuckled. “That was maybe the FA Cup adrenalin. I just found myself in good positions.”

An ambitious non-league club against a struggling EFL side has all the ingredients for a shock, with the tie being selected by ITV for live coverage. On what the viewers can expect from the Spitfires, Francillette explained: “We try to play football. We’re a hardworking team that really competes.

“We’re all professionals, the fact it’s on TV and there will be a big crowd is just a plus, it’s not going to make us play any different. We’re going into the game really confident.”

Following his time at Newcastle and then a stint in the EFL with Crawley before joining Eastleigh, Francillette sees his future firmly in English football.

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“I just like it here [in England] and would be happy to stay,” he said. “I like the spirit of English football, the fans, the atmosphere, it’s really good.

“I feel like in England that football is a passion for everyone. It makes for a good game in every division.”

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