United head off on the long trip down to Kent this morning as they take the next step on this season’s Emirates FA Cup journey with a round two meeting with League One outfit Gillingham next on the agenda.
And, having taken part in some big cup games already with the club, he pointed out once again how important a good cup run can be.
“If you look at some of the draws we’ve had in recent years you can see it’s massive for the club,” he said. “Everyone enjoys the FA Cup and we all know how important it is. Financially it can bring a big boost to clubs at our level, but that’s the same for everybody.
“We need to make sure we do things right at Gillingham and we’ll see where that takes us. It’s a tough game for us but we’re not scared of anybody. If we put our own stamp on the game, we’ll be fine. We’ve done well against higher opposition in recent seasons, so we just need to make sure we turn up and put on a good performance.
“It’s another long one but part and parcel of playing for this club is that you have to do a fair bit of travelling. We’ll prepare thoroughly, as we always do, and we’ll be putting the work in on the training ground to make sure we’re ready to take the game to them as well.
“Their results have picked up recently, so they’ll want that to continue. I have total confidence that if we play the way we can we’ll get a positive result.”
“There’ll be pressure on Gillingham because they’re above us and they’re at home,” he added. “They’re further down their league than they expect to be, but so are we at the moment.
“It’s a game where if you win you get through to a potential big draw, but you can’t look too far ahead. There’s a job to be done first. All you can do is go into it fully prepared and the rest will take care of itself.”
The competition is still one that captures the imagination of the fans and the locally-born defender confirmed that it also still holds a special feel for the players in the dressing room as well.
“I watched these games growing up as a youngster and there is still a buzz around it,” he said. “It’s definitely a special day when you’re playing in the competition, so we always want to go as far as we can.
“In some ways you do treat it like any other game, because you want to win whether it’s a cup game or a league game, but it has its own pressures because of the fact you go out if you lose on the day.
“There’s a little bit more pressure on everyone because of the fact you can’t have any excuses. You have to turn up or you’re out. The league is your bread and butter but if you can go as far as you can in this competition it brings its own rewards.”
The recent trip to Luton took the skipper to 150 appearances in a blue shirt – all in the starting eleven – with an impressive 25 goals notched up along the way.
“It’s flown by,” he admitted. “There have been ups and downs but I’m just enjoying my football here. That’s the main thing for me.
“I seem to have found a few goals as well, which is good. I’m settled here, I’ve put my roots down and it’s a place I’m very happy to be at. Hopefully there’ll be many more appearances and goals to come.
“The one I got against Yeovil the other day is up there with the best I’ve scored. I don’t think it’ll beat the one against Pompey, but it was nice to see it fly into the top corner. It was also good that we put on a performance like that for the fans that day.
“As soon as I got in shooting range I decided to have a dig, and some of them sail in and others go flying into the Warwick. I’m sure next time there’ll be quite a few people ducking behind the goal.”
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