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We will play the United way

Submitted by on November 4, 2010 – 9:38 am2 Comments

FC United manager Karl Marginson is promising to go for all-out attack as the reds travel to Rochdale in the FA Cup first round on Friday.

It will be FC’s debut in the first round proper and after much debate among the fanbase and elected board, it will be shown live on ESPN, with a 7.45pm kick off, unless it keeps lagging it down – then the match is likely to be switched to Tuesday night.

United’s allocation of 3,200 has been sold out and more reds are expected in the home sections at Spotland. Margy promised to put on a show. He said: “We will play the same way we always have – we go to win. It’s the United way – attack is the best form of defence and we won’t alter that just because we’re playing a team from a higher division.

“That philosophy served us well in the last round as we went at Barrow from the off and they had no answer. Our defence isn’t the greatest, so we will put the pressure on them at the back and keep it off ourselves. Hopefully.

“Make no mistake, we won’t be just turning up expecting to get beaten. We know they are a good side and we will be massive underdogs. We need to have an outstanding day and they have to have an off day if we are going to get anything from the match, but that can happen. It has happened in football from day one, so we will be going into the match relaxed and positive and will do our best to rise to the occasion.

“Confidence within the squad is at an all time high. We are on a great run and the players are buzzing at the moment. We couldn’t have better preparation for the match in terms of our recent form, so who knows what may happen?

“The added attention won’t alter preparation, according to Margy: “We will prepare for the match in the same way as we do for any other night game. There is more interest in this game, so obviously the players may feel more pressure, but I think most of them will rise to it and actually enjoy it. Games like this, in the best cup competition in the world and with all the press attention, are why you play football and why you get involved in the game.

“So it is something to savour and enjoy, not something to worry about. In a way, our players maybe have that extra little bit of experience with dealing with the attention, compared to a lot of other clubs, as they are on FCUMtv every week and people can see the highlights on the internet, and we have such a large fanbase for our league level.

“The buzz word, if we have to have one, for Friday is ‘enjoyment’. The players need to go out and enjoy the occasion and the fans will enjoy it regardless of the result. This is the sort of match we have been looking forward to since the club was formed and finally we’ve made it to the first round proper. Let’s celebrate that.
Lots of family members and friends will be there and players want to impress those they know, so I think we will raise our game.”

He added: “It will be a proud day for all of us. I’ve never been prouder than seeing the scenes at the end of the Barrow game with everyone hugging each other and celebrating in the stands. It was what we all dream about and we want more of that.

“This bunch of lads are fantastic and its pleasure for me and Roy to work with them. We couldn’t ask for better really and that’s why I know they have the character to cope with everything that is thrown at them on Friday. They have shown togetherness with the FA Cup bonus scheme by asking that all members of the squad benefit, not just those that play on the day. That says it all to me.

“Our supporters will be there in force as they always are and will turn it into a home game for us. Maybe it will unnerve the home side slightly, we can only hope. But it will be a big factor having that backing and it cannot be underestimated.

Picture by Eddie Garvey

“This club has come a long way in five years and Friday is our biggest occasion so far. Who would have thought when we were racing against time to get the club formed in 2005, that we would end up in the FA Cup first round live on television? Let’s not lose sight of our achievements in all the hype about Friday. We’ve a lot to be proud of.

“Let’s take the opportunity to let people know what this club is about, both on and off the pitch. The fans are the best advertisement we have, so do your bit and I promise you the players will be doing theirs.”

Preview from the official FC United site (fc-utd.co.uk):

Reds ready for biggest challenge yet at Rochdale

Friday sees FC United take part in what is undoubtedly the biggest game since our club’s formation in 2005, as the Reds make their debut in the first round proper of the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON with a short journey to the Spotland Stadium to face League One side Rochdale. Craig Phillips provides this preview…

The Dale are the highest placed opposition the Reds have ever faced competitively by some way with 80 places separating the two sides in the football pyramid. United start the game absolute underdogs but, as with the win over Conference side Barrow in the previous round, manager Karl Marginson will be keen to stress to his players that they have nothing to lose.

Margy will expect his players to play with no fear and will want them to enjoy the occasion as much as the FC United faithful seem determined to do so. Our supporters have already bought an impressive 3,200 tickets for the fixture and the atmosphere from the travelling fans will be imperative to the Reds’ chances of pulling off a huge upset.

FC United come into the game in great form with six consecutive victories which have seen Margy win the Evo-Stik manager of the month award for October. To get to this stage, the Reds have seen off Radcliffe Borough, Gainsborough Trinity, Norton & Stockton Ancients, and of course Barrow.

As a Co-operative Excellence Winner in 2009, it’s also a nice touch for FC United to be visiting Rochdale as the town proudly lays claim to being the birthplace of the Co-operative Movement. With nice quirks like that and all the talk of FC United ‘reaching the promised land’ the tie has got a very unique feel to it.

However, Reds of a certain age will remember drawing Rochdale in the FA Cup before. Nearly 25 years ago, in January 1986, the third round of the competition saw Manchester United beat The Dale 2-0 at Old Trafford with goals from Mark Hughes and Frank Stapleton.

Back to this season though and Rochdale find themselves coming into the game suffering from indifferent form. They currently sit 13th in the league, just three points from the play-off places but also just three points from the relegation places, which shows how close the League One table is.

After losing 2-1 to Leyton Orient on Saturday, Keith Hill’s men have only recorded one win in their last five league games which has seen them defeated by Bristol Rovers, Yeovil and Exeter. The one win was against Dagenham & Redbridge the weekend before last.

The fact that Rochdale’s game against Paul Dickov’s Oldham Athletic was abandoned on Tuesday evening may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for The Dale. Torrential rain meant that Hill’s men avoided having to play two games in four days. Club captain Gary Jones, who is also The Dale’s top scorer this season having netted seven times, will no doubt appreciate being able lead his team out on Friday without the risk of tired legs.

Rochdale will no doubt be boosted by re-signing defender Tom Kennedy on loan from Leicester City, although whether the Foxes will allow him to become cup-tied remains to be seen. Kennedy is the son of Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy.

Another member of the Rochdale staff who has a well known family relation is assistant manager David Flitcroft, who is of course the brother of former Manchester City player Gary Flitcroft.

Rochdale AFC were formed in 1907, although they didn’t actually become a member of the football league until 1921. Although the club have never won a competition since becoming members of the football league in 1921, they have been promoted twice; in 1969 and 2010, and have an amazing record that they share with Hartlepool United of having played 82 consecutive seasons in the Football League without ever having reached the top two tiers, something which Hill is obviously looking at breaking in the not too distant future.

The club has had some good cup pedigree over the years, most notably reaching the 1962 League Cup Final, still being the only club from the bottom division to achieve this feat, before losing 4-0 on aggregate to Norwich City (as the final was played out over two legs in those days).

The past few seasons saw Rochdale knock on the door of promotion under Hill, losing out 3-2 in the play-off final to local rivals Stockport County in 2008, before reaching the play-offs again the following season.

But last season, The Dale ended 36 consecutive seasons in the country’s bottom flight, as they finished third in the league. Despite an amazing loss of form towards the business end of the season which saw them slip off the top of the table, The Dale sealed promotion to League One after beating Northampton Town to take them over the finish line.

On the whole, The Dale have a decent record in the FA Cup having reached the fifth round in 1990 and 1999 losing out to Crystal Palace and Wolves respectively, but they were knocked out of last season’s competition at this stage by non-league opponents as Conference side Luton Town beat them 2-0 at the Spotland in a first round replay after the sides drew 3-3 at Kenilworth Road in the original tie.

Friday’s game is a 7.45pm kick off with hopefully most of the 10,249 seats at the Spotland being occupied for what should make a fantastic atmosphere and a cracking cup tie.

Rochdale have generously lowered their ticket prices for the match to £12 for adults, £8 for over-65s and £5 for under-16s. As it currently stands it is still pay-on-the-gate but please check details elsewhere on this website before setting off.

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