Head coach Chris Beech spoke to us about the tough trip to the Cardiff City stadium for the third-round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup competition.
“This will be a good challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “They are a fantastic team with good, good players and we have to find a way to compete, which I’m confident we will.
“For the players, it’s a brilliant challenge. They’re going up against powerful athletes who are quick and dynamic and they’ll need to be ready. It was noticeable that Crewe had that type of approach but you’re talking about the next level with Cardiff.”
“These lads are very, very quick and it’s almost the case that their slowest player will be as quick as our quickest. With that they’re dynamic and strong, and they run and pass, and they’re very good at playing football.
“It’s going to be a really tough challenge, but we worked so hard to get something like this for the football club and we have to enjoy and embrace the challenge.”
“It’s a fantastic stage to play on so the lads have to enjoy it,” he continued. “We spoke before the Forest Green about how good it is to be involved in this competition, and to get a Championship club at this stage is excellent.
“We’ve prepared properly, as we always do, and it’s a game that’s coming as part of what has been a really testing period in terms of the amount of games. That’s all part of it, we have to deal with that and produce the type of performance we all want to see.
“There is obviously more focus on a game like this, and I was lucky enough to benefit from this type of game as a player. I scored a couple of goals against Derby for Huddersfield in the FA Cup fifth round, and in Paul Simpson’s squad at Rochdale we got to the fiftth round.
“As assistant manager at Rochdale it took Tottenham one-and-a-half games to break us down. There are opportunities for players within games like these so they’re looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Looking at the improvements he wants to continue to see following the run of three games in just seven days, he told us: “I’m still excited about what we’re doing after what we saw against Bradford and at Walsall.
“It is hard, we can’t hide from that, the games are coming thick and fast and the squad is relatively low in numbers, not many changes to be made in terms of who’s playing and who’s not.
“I’ve been saying a long time that Crewe are the best possession-based team in our league and they can score goals in quick spells, which is what they did against us. As I said, I’m really disappointed with the actual type of goals we conceded, but it can be argued that the clean sheets prior to that showed us that things are moving forward.
“I asked for character at half time at Crewe and they showed it. We probably had a dozen opportunities and we want to be putting more of them away. What I want at this club is for people, players, to get credit and accolades.
“But first and foremost, in any fight, you’ve got to stand up at the start of it, not when it’s gone on, and not when an opponent maybe relaxes or it’s too late to try and come back from. I’m a fighter, and if there’s a time to fight and go toe-to-toe, you do it.
“We’ve lost two in the eight games since I’ve been here so I’m very pleased with the response. The first half at Crewe wasn’t what we expect, and if you do that long term you’re generally going to lose more than you win, but we haven’t been doing that.
“It’s something I’ve managed to stop. I don’t want it coming into the building, at the same time I have to be respectful of the opposition we’re playing against. Within that we need to see players always striving to do the right things.
“It’s traits that are important to me. It helps establish foundations and helps establish wins and draws and positive results.”