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INTERVIEW: It's a great competition to be involved in

Defender Clint Hill on the magic of the Emirates FA Cup

1 December 2017

Defender Clint Hill in action for United

Centre back Clint Hill confirmed this week that the United squad is looking forward to the Emirates FA Cup second round meeting with Gillingham on Saturday as the Blues prepare to pit themselves against a team from the division above for the second time this season.

“It’s another challenge against a team who are in decent form,” he said. “It’s a long journey for us and the fans but that’s something we’ve become accustomed to. Hopefully we’ll go down there and give a good account of ourselves.

“We’ve been on a decent run, but last Tuesday and Saturday were both frustrating games for us. We want to put that right. Gillingham are a league above us but if we play as we have been I think we can expect a positive result.”

Success on Saturday, of course, would put United into the hat with the Premier League big boys, but you won’t find anyone from the club counting their chickens just yet.

“It is an incentive, of course it is, and the club has had some big games recently in cup competitions,” he commented. “The prize is there, but it’s important not to get too carried away.

“I think everybody will automatically see Gillingham as the favourites, but we’ve been quite stubborn away from home. That’s something we can be positive about and what we need to do is focus on ourselves and make sure we do our jobs properly.

“If you’re pushing me on what the ideal tie would be if we do get through, I’m a Liverpool fan – I’m a Red – and Anfield is only 20 minutes away from where I live. That would be superb for me.

“That’s a club very close to my heart so if it did come, brilliant, but we’ve got Saturday to deal with first before we can even start thinking about anything like that. Look, the FA Cup has its own magic and I’ve been lucky enough to have seen both sides. I’ve been in the bigger team and I’ve also been with the underdog.

“It’s always a difficult encounter but we’ll take confidence from the last month or two and, with the way this competition is, you just never know what might happen. We had two good runs when I was at QPR and my days at Tranmere were fantastic.

“We played some massive teams at Prenton Park and we did really well in the competition. It’s a magical competition, a heritage of this country, and we’ve got to give it the respect it deserves.”

But is that a message echoed around the game, particularly at the higher levels?

“Unfortunately some clubs have decided that it doesn’t mean as much as it used to, and that’s a shame,” he told us. “Does that mean we incentivise it more by giving it a Champions League place to create a little bit more interest and respect?

“I don’t know, that’s up to them to decide, but certainly on my part it’s a great competition to be in and I’d take going to Wembley and lifting that trophy any day.

“For us at Carlisle United it’s about getting as far as we can. There’s pressure on every game because you want to win, and that’s no different this weekend. The transfer window is coming around, so anything we can do to help the club matters.

"The incentive is there for us as individuals and as a club, so we’re going there to give it our very best shot. I think we did it properly by getting ourselves down here on Thursday. We’ll get the journey out of our legs and you won’t find us using distance as an excuse.”

And a victory at the Priestfield will see the Blues continue the good run of form which has helped to take them back to within touching distance of the League Two play-off places.

“We’ve always felt we can get a bit of consistency going, and consistency in performances is a big part of getting success, whatever level you’re at,” he told us. “The more we keep doing things right the more we’ll turn things round.

“We know we have to keep level heads throughout the season and, if we keep working on the simple things, hopefully we’ll find ourselves peaking at exactly the right time.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Clint Hill on iFollow United now.   

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