Published Date: 02 January 2009
By Mark Duffy
EASTWOOD Town will have little fear and a fantastic run of form behind them as they go into the most exciting weekend in the club's history.
Kettering Town may not carry with them the glitz and glamour of some of the teams Eastwood could have faced, but their higher status means there is just as much expectancy and pressure on them as there would have been on Manchester United or Chelsea had they been hosting the Badgers.
And Eastwood boss Paul Cox believes that could, as in previous rounds, play into his side's hands.
"Whoever we faced we would have been underdogs as we're the lowest ranked team left in the competition, but we've revelled in that status up to now.
"Kettering have been underdogs in their games so far but now they face a different kind of challenge, and the pressure is definitely on them to beat us.
"Their fans will be expecting them to win and we have to be ready to capitalise if they're not on the ball."
For more of Cox's thoughts on the Kettering tie, click here.
The Boxing Day victory at Boston United made it 14 games unbeaten for Eastwood, and they have had a clear week to prepare for the cup tie with no match on New Year's Day.
Cox was delighted with the three points in Lincolnshire.
He said: "We started slowly and I felt we were off the pace for the first 25 minutes or so, but once we got going we made a real game of it.
"It would have been great to watch as a neutral as in the second half both sides created chances, and we missed some particularly good ones."
The introduction of Matt Rhead again made a difference, emphasising the embarassment of riches Cox has at his disposal when it comes to strikers.
"The formation and style we've been employing doesn't always suit players like Rheady, Peter Knox and Marc Smith, so they've been a bit unlucky in having to wait for their chance, but they're always effective when called upon as they add a different dimension to our game," said Cox.
"Tristram Whitman is another example of a really good quality player not being able to get a game, and in the end we've had to let him go out on loan to FC United of Manchester because he wants to play, and you can't blame him."
Boston will again be Eastwood's opponents next Tuesday when they visit in the UniBond League Challenge Cup fourth round.
With the league the main priority and the sideline of the FA Cup run, Cox is again likely to use the game as a chance to field some of his lesser used but still excellent quality players.
He said: "They did really well in the last round at Stocksbridge and deserve the chance to play against Boston.
"This kind of situation only emphasises the strength of squad we've got, which is necessary when there's the risk of injuries and suspensions.