'The FA Cup is really important to us'
Matty Saunders wants his side to take the momentum from the way they finished the league game against Boreham Wood into the FA Cup tie with the same opponents on Saturday.
The Stones ended last weekend's National League encounter firmly on the front foot and peppered Nathan Ashmore's goal in search of an equaliser. Despite a strong claim for a penalty and several other efforts, the goal never came and Wood won the game 2-1, but Saunders believes the nature of the performance offers encouraging portents ahead of the Fourth Round Qualifying tie at Meadow Park.
"We don't want to be a team who keep playing well but don't win, but equally just because we're not winning we can't start changing the things that we're doing well. We're a very, very horrible team to play and I guarantee Boreham Wood will not want to play us come Saturday.
"I'd be more worried if I was them because we know what we're going do. We're going to play like we do every week. We've played like it for 12 games and up until the opposition box the stats probably don't lie: that we are the best team in the division with Notts County until the opposition box. We've probably got the second best defensive record in the league – we just need to get the first goal in games and you need that clinical edge. But that costs a huge amount of money in this division so we just keep coaching the lads we have and making them better, which is really satisfying."
The Stones have a poor recent record in the cup, reaching the first round only twice since 1988 when we faced Swansea City. The money is also a big factor with the winner of the tie receiving £9,375 compared to £3,125 for the loser.
"We know how important the cup is," said Saunders. "It's a huge kind of dent in our CV that since we've been here, we've done really well everywhere else but the cups have kind of let us down.
"It's huge because we can go there with our support and make it like a home game. The noise our fans make will lift the players, it will lift everybody. Hopefully they come and they see us go through to the next round because, as a management team, it's high on our agenda to make sure we get through now. We've probably got the worst draw as we've got the highest-ranked team in our region, but I think they'll be worrying more about us than we will them."
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* Pictures by Mike Renny
* The Supporters Club are holding their next fundraising night on Saturday, October 22. All proceeds go to supporting the Football Club. Call James on 07979 795414 to get your tickets