Congleton Town boss Richard Duffy believes his side is ready to compete against National League North outfit AFC Fylde when the two meet in the FA Cup this weekend.
After six qualifying rounds, Congleton have reached the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round, where they were handed a tasty home tie against Step 2 opposition.
They are the lowest ranked team left in this season’s FA Cup, with an upset certainly on the cards.
A big fixture for ninth-tier Congleton, made even bigger by the BBC’s decision to choose the match for television coverage.
No stranger to the big occasion from his time as a player, former Wales international manager Duffy is confident his side can compete against Fylde this weekend:
“It’s a big reward for the club. Lots of people have been putting in work behind the scenes, not everybody sees that. But we’re not here to make up the numbers.
“We’re at home and we’re going to try and win the game. We don’t fear anybody at home, we’re unbeaten at home and we’ll try to keep that record going.
With an understandable buzz flowing through the squad ahead of Saturday’s clash, Duffy issued a warning to his players about keeping their cool:
“In training all the scaffolding was going up for the cameras and I’m sure it will hit home when we arrive Saturday morning.
“There will be something different about the game and that’s what we’re in (the FA Cup) it for, but we can’t let it be a distraction.
“The TV tie is great for the club and the players, but my question is can we go and perform under that pressure?”
Sitting mid-table in the North West Counties Football League Premier Division, it’s been a mixed start to the campaign for Congleton.
Regardless of their league form, Duffy insists the magic of the FA Cup is still alive and it’s a competition he’s taking seriously:
“The higher you go up the pyramid, is it as well-thought of the lower down the pyramid? Probably not.
“I’ve always cherished the FA Cup. You always look forward to it every season and you always have that fairytale dream to make it as far as you can.”
While they may fancy their chances, Duffy was under no illusions as to the threat Fylde will present.
However, a rocky week off the pitch for the Coasters does open the door for Congleton this weekend:
“It wouldn’t be for me to comment on what’s happened at the club, that’s their business.”
“Whatever has happened, we’re just trying to win the game, or at the very least maintain our unbeaten home record.
“Whether that’s a draw or a win, let’s try and come away unbeaten from the tie and see where that leaves us.”
Congleton’s FA Cup clash against Fylde will be streamed live on the BBC iPlayer, with the match kicking off at 12:30pm.
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