Vince Overson with an update on the youth teamWe spoke to youth coach Vince Overson about the Unisun, Blackpool and Wrexham games last week.
"We've had a good week," he told us. "I know we say results aren't important, but they are for the lads. From our point of view the results are important if the way we play deserves the win and, I have to say, we've been fairly happy with the performances.
"The lads stood up to the physical side of the Unisun game but, in fairness to Unisun, they did try and play football. No disrespect to grassroots football, but we half expected them to try and kick us off the pitch. They didn't, and as the result shows we didn't win by a huge margin.
"They got people behind the ball and they were hard to break down. The lads play against the pro's anyway, so they're used to playing against men. You don't get any bigger, stronger, more physical players as professional footballers. The lads stood up to the challenge and even though it was difficult we wore them down in the end."
"The lads did extremely well in the Cumberland Cup last season," he said. "We've challenged them to go and win it again this time round. People are expecting us to do well because we're the professional team, so that means we're there to be shot down as well.
"We've got Aspatria in the next round but I don't think that's as far as Frizington where we went last season. Going to these teams is a bit of an unknown and we'll treat everybody with the same respect as we would if we were playing a league game on a Saturday. I'm sure they'll make it difficult to be broken down, but I think the main thing we've got in our favour is the fitness."
"We took the Unisun performance into the Blackpool game," he commented. "It was an extremely good win and we were proud of the lads. The result was a close one but we dominated the game.
"Their coach was very complimentary after the game. He said we were dynamic and athletic which is something we've been working on. Once we lose the ball we need to work to get behind it in numbers, and once we win it back we need willing runners to hurt the other team.
"The lads have been producing some extremely good football without getting the results. We had a tendency to slip up and make individual mistakes which have been costing us games.
"It was frustrating for the lads because they knew they were playing well, but we kept telling them someone would be on the end of a hiding soon. With regards to a performance, we dominated Blackpool, but the 1-0 result probably doesn't reflect that."
"We played Wrexham on the Friday, which was different for the lads," he said. "We try and instil the mentality of approaching every game the same. It's the same as the pro's, they travel all over the country and play night games, but they have to prepare exactly the same.
"The carrot was there because we told them they could have the weekend off if they performed. It was said in jest, but they did perform very well. It was a comfortable looking score line and I think we earned the right to make it that way. We want to defend and attack in numbers, and to do that you have to get about the pitch."
"The one thing I was pleased with is the way we defended," he told us. "We were extremely hard to break down and there weren't any individual mistakes. I think the lads got a lot of confidence from the two wins earlier in the week and every time we went forward they believed they would score.
"We changed the formation slightly against Wrexham and went narrower. We wanted the lads to flood the box when we were attacking. It was a change of strategy because we haven't been capitalising on the balls that have been going into the box in recent weeks. The lads got their rewards because it's hard work to sprint into the box then get back into position."
Looking at the Saturday game, he said: "We don't know a lot about Rotherham. They always seem to do well in their respective league so we're expecting a tough game. We have to make sure the lads aren't complacent just because we've won a few games.
"Next Wednesday night will be great for the lads," he said. "It will be under the lights and they'll all have dreamed about playing for their club on the main pitch. It always seems a bit special when you play under floodlights.
"We played against Tranmere earlier in the season, and they beat us 1-0, but it was because of an individual mistake. They'll be as afraid of us as we are of them, but I'm confident that if we turn up and approach the game in the right way we'll get the right result.
"We'll tell them to approach the game as same as they would with any other. It shouldn't matter whether you're playing at Creighton, Brunton Park or Wembley, you should still approach the game exactly the same. If they have the confidence to do that, and they aren't overawed by the occasion, then I'm sure they'll produce a decent enough performance to get us into the next round."
United v Unisun: Bacon, Hurley, Pearson, McCue, Doulgas (Breen, 45), Groves (Holt, 65), Taylor, Robson, Egan, Hammell, Bradbury. Subs: Salkeld, Brown.
United v Blackpool: Bacon, Hurley, McCue (Pearson, 45), Holt, Douglas, Groves, Salkeld (Breen, 70), Robson, Egan (Brown, 20), Taylor, Bradbury.
United v Wrexham: Bacon, Hurley, McCue (Pearson, 55), Holt, Douglas (Brown, 45), Groves, Salkeld, Robson, Quigley (Breen, 33), Taylor, Bradbury. Subs: Egan.