Manager warns of tough tie but aims for place in first round
Town boss Paul Buckle is desperate for his side to continue their good form in Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Cambridge United.
The Hatters go into the fourth qualifying round tie against former manager Richard Money’s side having won four of their last five games in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The game is one of eight all top-flight ties and while Buckle knows how tough it will be to progress, he hopes his troops can continue from where they left off against Nuneaton last weekend.
“You saw in the last game our will to win and the togetherness and all we want is to keep up the momentum on Saturday,” said the manager at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“We’re in a good place right now, we go into the game in good form having won four of our last five and Saturday’s a big and an exciting game.
“We might be forced into some changes but everyone is ready and looking forward to it. We’ve had a development game in the week and everyone’s been at it in training.
“The players have shown great spirit, togetherness and endeavour – especially in the last game and Saturday is a chance for us to go out and expresses ourselves and, hopefully, we can put ourselves in the hat for the next round.”
The Town will be coming up against Money for the first time since his departure from Kenilworth Road in March 2011.
Buckle’s side beat the U’s – then led by Jez George – last month 3-2 in league action, but the boss knows that will count for nothing come Saturday.
“A lot has changed at Cambridge since we last played them,” he said. “We know a fair bit about each other and I’m sure their players will want to impress their new manager.
“I’m pleased we’re not playing them as the first game of the new manager because you saw what happened then [Cambridge beat Mansfield 4-1 in Money’s first game in charge].
“But we’ll be ultra respectful in our approach and preparation, but the focus will be about us. We’re in good shape and in excellent form - but anything can happen in the FA Cup. I just want our players to go out there and enjoy themselves and play in the same vein as they have been.”
The manager will definitely be without ineligible loan duo Connor Essam and Yaser Kasim whilst Simon Ainge is cup-tied.
However, Buckle is able to call upon top goalscorer Stuart Fleetwood again after the striker missed the 2-0 win over Nuneaton through suspension.
Dean Beckwith is a doubt with a groin injury while the game comes too soon for midfielder Danny Spiller after he made an appearance for the development squad on Wednesday.