CHICHESTER City got the prize FA Cup pick that Gary Bowyer had coveted.

It would be mean to begrudge a team from the eighth tier, who had already played six matches to earn their place in the first round proper.

But with the sad expulsion of Bury, it meant an odd team out in the draw – and automatic progress through for that last ball in the “fish bowl”.

So, the Sussex team from the Isthmian League south-east division received their tidy £36,000 winning fee without having to kick a ball this weekend (though they did donate some of it to Bury).

For Bowyer and the Bantams, the ticket to the second round will have to be earned the traditional way.

Given the number of absentees the City boss is having to deal with, he could have done with the helping hand afforded Chichester’s part-timers.

Instead, a trip to a team in the division above offers a considerable challenge to kick off what Bowyer hopes can still prove a profitable run.

Shrewsbury, the scene of Michael Collins’ debut hot-seat win on the opening day of last season, await on Saturday for a tie where City will travel as underdogs.

That in itself represents a novelty in a season when they find themselves one of League Two’s biggest targets.

But while Bowyer would, no doubt, have had a quiet grumble when City’s ball number five was drawn out behind Shrewsbury’s 40 by Jermaine Beckford and former women’s footballer Karen Carney, he will certainly not be writing off their chances.

“We’ll treat them with the massive respect they are due,” he said. “But we’ll be looking to get through that one and hopefully go further.”

While bouncing straight back to League One remains the obvious priority, Bowyer believes that an FA Cup run can help rather than hinder City’s chances – even with current numbers still stretched by injury.

The Bantams have cleared the first hurdle in four of the last five seasons, their hosts have won their opener every time, and Bowyer would love to keep his club’s recent record going.

“I’d certainly like to try and get a cup run going. I want to get through and we’ll be going strong trying to get into that next round.

“I’ve been fortunate as a manager to have had some really good memories in the FA Cup.

“When I was at Blackburn, we took Liverpool to a quarter-final replay after we drew 0-0 at Anfield.

“Along the way, we beat Premiership Stoke and Swansea so that is a fond memory.

“The year before, we got a replay with Manchester City and took them back to the Etihad.

“We got stuffed 5-0 – and you wonder when the fifth one went in why you drew the first game!

“But they are great memories that stay with you forever, both as a player and a manager.”

City fans need no reminder of the excitement that a cup journey can generate.

Phil Parkinson’s “history makers” of 2012-13 successfully juggled becoming the first fourth-tier team to reach a major Wembley final in the Capital One Cup with ultimate promotion success in the play-offs in the 64th game of a marathon campaign.

Two seasons on, they got within one round of going back to Wembley in the FA Cup, famously taking two more top-flight scalps on the way to a quarter-final replay exit at Reading.

Bowyer added: “It’s part of the history that stays with you. You only have to ask any supporter here about Stamford Bridge and obviously the League Cup.

“If I’m being brutally honest, (playing on two fronts) cost me at Blackburn.

“In the latter part of the season we picked up a hell of a lot of injuries.

“I suppose that happens through the course of the season, especially with the extra games.

“But the memories stay with me forever.

“We had something like 6,000 fans behind the goal at Anfield and the same at Manchester City.

“They are great days. Watching us beat Stoke and Swansea are games that you don’t forget for the rest of your life.

“Obviously we have different goals for the whole aim of the season but I wouldn’t begrudge it again.”