NON-LEAGUE: Daniels are challenged to become FA Cup heroes
Manager Graham Drury is challenging his Stamford AFC squad to go out and become this year's FA Cup heroes.
The road to Wembley can be a cruel place, but those who tread carefully can become household names.
And now - as the Daniels prepare to travel to unbeaten Gresley for tomorrow’s (September 17) second round qualifying tie (KO 3pm) - Drury wants his squad to seize their opportunity to put a good run together.
“It’s an FA Cup game so everyone at the club, the chairman, the players, me, we all want to do well,” Drury said.
“It’s the FA Cup. Every player wants to do well in the competition and go on a run, they know they can make a name for themselves.”
The Moatmen have begun the season in impressive form, recording four wins and three draws from their opening seven contests.
They currently sit sixth in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One (South), 14 places above the Daniels, and ruthlessly put six past Deeping Rangers in the previous round.
But having watched his Stamford side knock Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division outfit St Neots out 4-1 in their replay at Zeeco Stadium in the first qualifying round, Drury believes there is little to fear at the Moat Ground.
While being the first team to beat Gresley this season would be a pleasing scalp to take, and the £4,500 prize money would we a welcome addition to the club’s bank account, the Daniels boss is also looking to keep face in a private battle with Moatmen manager Damion Beckford-Qailey, the former St Kitts and Nevis international.
“I know Damo, their manager, really well,” Drury added.
“We’ve had some right battles in the past, in the days of Holbeach and Leicester Nirvana, but fortunately I’ve come out on top in every one of them.
“I hope that will continue, but we know he’ll want to win the game as well.”
Stamford go into the contest on the back of a 2-1 league defeat at Newcastle Town which left the club languishing in 20th in the table.
While the FA Cup may be seen as a welcome break from league action, even if it pits the Daniels against opponents from the same league, Drury is not giving up on his dream of an instant return to the Northern Premier’s top flight.
He just wants a little more attitude form his charges.
“It’s a bit more direct in our league, and the teams around us are used to that type of football,” Drury continued.
“It will always take time to adapt to a new league, but we’ve still got plenty of games to go.
“It can be an ugly league, but we’ve just got to fight our way out of it.”