Whitby boss wary of shock

A good run in The FA Cup is the perfect way to raise the profile of lower-league teams, according to Whitby Town manager Darren Williams.

His side face Shildon AFC in an FA Cup replay after the initial tie ended 1-1, and with the Seasiders’ sitting 35 league places above their opponents, the Northern Premier League Premier Division side go in to Wednesday’s tie as heavy favourites.

But a wary Williams, who played over 200 games for Sunderland during his playing career, is refusing to take Shildon lightly. “Anyone from the outside would see us as favourites, but this is The FA Cup, that does not matter,” he explained.

Whitby Town FC v Shildon AFC

The FA Cup First Round Qualifying
7.45pm, Wednesday 17th September 2014
Turnbull Ground, Whitby
Winning clubs receives £3,000 from The FA Prize Fund
By Dan Raymond

“We have a better idea of what they can do as a team now. They have no pressure on them, they will play free-flowing, relaxed football and we expect them to come here and really have a go at us.”

Now that his team are at home, Williams feels that his side may have a great chance to progress.

“We were carrying a couple of injured players for the last match who are now available, so I would say we are a little bit stronger than we were.

“Also, we have the home advantage, which is a big factor. We’re comfortable on this pitch and should hopefully get good support.”

The Seasiders best run in The Cup is The Second Round Proper, and Williams wants to go on another fairytale journey.

He added:  “Financially speaking, it’s a huge stepping stone for us, and it also helps to raise the profile of the club.

“Playing in the FA Cup is fantastic; being part of the same competition as the big teams, the players our lads watch on the TV, is everybody’s dream!”

Visitors Shildon’s best result in The FA Cup came in the 2003-04 season, when they reached The First Round Proper, but were comprehensively beaten 7-2 by Notts County.

Despite the increased media coverage and money that a win would bring, Williams remains coy on the match.

He concluded: “It’s just another game, we climb this hurdle then go on to the next, we will just enjoy it and see how far we can go.”

The winner will face Stalybridge Celtic in the next round, due to be played on Saturday 27 September.