Friday, October 22, 2010

FA Cup preview

 FC United boss Karl Marginson insists Barrow’s travel sickness is the key to his FA Cup glory-hunters making history this weekend.

The Rebels will need to bridge a gap of two divisions if they’re to knock out the Cumbrian full-timers, collect a winners’ cheque of £12,500 and advance to the first round proper for the first time in their brief but highly eventful existence.

It’s a big ask but Marginson, an ex Barrow star, believes the Bluebirds’ failure to win on the road in the Blue Square Bet Premier gives FC hope of an upset in the Cup’s fourth qualifying-round at Gigg Lane on Sunday (3pm).

The United boss, whose team fell at the same stage to Northwich 12 months ago, said: “Barrow are one of non-League’s biggest clubs and I’ve every respect for them, but the fact they’ve yet to win away in eight attempts this season makes us feel we have a chance.

“We’ll need to be at our very best but our confidence is high after scoring 14 times in our last three games.”

Meanwhile, four other Manchester semi-pro teams hope to make it to round one.

Altrincham, Stalybridge Celtic, Droylsden and Mossley will all be dreaming of earning the chance for their names to go into the hat with npower League One and Two clubs when they stage ties tomorrow.

Stalybridge, seeking to reach the first-round for the first time in eight years, will fancy their chances of beating fellow Blue Square Bet North outfit Eastwood Town at Bower Fold.

Droylsden, whose last appearance in round one came in 2008, will start as favourites at home to Evo-Stik South leaders Barwell.

Evo-Stik North minnows Mossley will attempt to end a 27-year wait for revenge when they square up to BSBP big guns Darlington at Seel Park, having crashed 5-0 to the Quakers in their last first-round outing in 1983.

Elsewhere, ailing Hyde face a BSBN trip to Blyth while, in Evo-Stik Premier, Ashton United host Hucknall and promotion hopefuls Northwich go to Burscough.
And Ken McKenna insists Altrincham are fully focused on their FA Cup tie with Gateshead despite their league woes.

McKenna celebrated his permanent appointment as Altrincham boss with a 1-0 win over Fleetwood Town, but a disastrous start to the season has left the Robins already seven points from safety in the Blue Square Premier table.

Gateshead visit Moss Lane on Saturday with a place in the FA Cup first round at stake and, even though there are no points on offer, McKenna says he won't change his approach.

“Gateshead are strong side and it'll be a difficult game,” he said. “They're a club that are progressing very quickly and they'll be desperate to get through.

“I don't see the FA Cup as a distraction because we need to win as many games as we can, whether they're in the league or the cup.

“It's an important game and we can't ignore the financial rewards of going on a cup run. We've already had a little bit of luck by getting a home draw, the first one we've had for a long time, and I'll be hoping for a bit more luck on Saturday.

“With the position we're in, we need to start winning games and picking up points. Even though it's a cup game we need to go on a run and build on the good result we had on Saturday.”