United are at the New Lawn on Saturday as they face Forest Green Rovers in the second round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup competition.
Both sides had tricky non-league opposition to face in the first round, with United successfully negotiating their way past Dulwich Hamlet as Rovers saw off Billericay Town, and head coach Chris Beech is expecting another tough test this coming weekend.
“It’s a great way for me to start at this club,” he said. “It’s a place I’ve never been to so I’m looking forward to seeing it for the first time. It’s a place I’ve missed out on with them being a little bit lower, but obviously they’re in the ascendancy now.
“The pitch will be brilliant, the opponents will be brilliant, so we’ll have to be extra brilliant to make sure we beat them. I know Coops, he’s a good lad, he’s been manager a long time, I have a lot of respect for Mark Cooper.
“Obviously we’d all enjoy a cup run. I want to go on one and I’m sure the Carlisle supporters and players do. But I’m sure everyone attached to Forest Green also wants that. That’s why we have to make sure we’re ready to fight and battle and play our game.”
With it being his first time in charge of the team we wondered if there’d be any added nerves leading up to kick off.
“I don’t know. I’ll tell you at five past three!” he told us. “I’ll be fine. I want to win. There’s no sentiment to that. It’s a big day for me personally, but it isn’t really. It’s about the lads, about the supporters.
“It’s about representing the board and the stakeholders in the correct way. It’s about us looking at getting on a cup run, and getting through to the Third Round, and who knows who you might draw, that could be something real big. But we’re not there, we’ve just got another fixture at the moment that’s against an unbelievable opponent.”
And with the magic of the world’s most respected competition still alive, he said: “We don’t prioritise certain competitions, we want to look to win every game we’re in.
“It’s great that we’ve got an opportunity to play in the FA Cup. It’s the FA Cup! That was a good competition to me as a player. I’d managed to get a couple of goals in the fifth round.
“It’s been good for the previous employers, Rochdale, in terms of the cup runs we’ve had, the finance it’s brought in, the exposure it’s given to the club, the excitement it’s given the fans.
“For us, we’re playing against a team that’s in its system, it’s organised, it’s ready. We’ve got to be right at our best to compete with Forest Green. Like I say, I know their manager well, I played with him at Hartlepool, and he’s got them going.
“They’re quick and dynamic, and the players are buying into his beliefs. They’re good at reacting to set-backs. They’ll be up for it on Saturday, they’ve conceded 13 goals in the league and they don’t give a lot away. We need to be right on point to give them a game, but that’s what we’ll be looking to do.”
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