Boss anticipating excellent cup tie at Gigg Lane
“Bury away” perhaps wasn’t Town supporters’ idea of a glamour FA Cup second round tie.
Similarly, “Luton at home” was possibly the less-than-enthusiastic reaction from the Shakers faithful.
Two League 2 sides pitted against one another. No big fish from League 1 to tackle. No minnow from the leagues below to reel in.
But for John Still it’s a game he’s genuinely excited by. And why not? Two sides chasing promotion go head-to-head at Gigg Lane vying for a place in the third round.
And that’s where and when the fish can get really big.
“I think this will be a proper cup tie,” said the manager at his Thursday press conference. “I'm going to look forward to watching this. It’s one of those games, I think it’ll be a good game to watch.”
Despite the fact that the Town approach the busy festive schedule with a sackful of injuries, the FA Cup still sits high on the boss’ wish list.
“With a gun to my head I’d say promotion would be the biggest thing, but the FA Cup is important,” continued Still. “I want to be as strong as I can for this competition because when Saturday’s here I want to win.
“The fact it’s the FA Cup, does it make it any easier if we didn't win? Not today, but at the end of the season, I might look back and think do you know what that wasn't so bad. But at the moment I wouldn't say that.”
Bury impressed against the Town in the two sides’ meeting at Kenilworth Road in August when the Hatters needed a last-minute equaliser from Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu to pinch a point.
The Shakers’ early season form saw David Flitcroft’s men quickly installed as title favourites, but a run of four straight defeats – three of those in League 2 – has halted their progress.
However, Still knows that previous form counts for nothing in the FA Cup.
“They showed at Kenilworth Road that they are a good side,” said Still. “I think they've had a couple of disappointing results but through the season most teams have that somewhere.
“They were a club that people would have felt would have been up there because of their investment and the players they've brought in, so as far as I'm concerned this is going to be a really tough game.
“This is a completely different competition and in one off games you need to find ways of dealing with that.
“In a league game you can go there for a draw and think that’s not a bad result - but with the greatest of respect I don’t really want draws, we’re going to go to win. I'm hoping we have our usual support that gets behind the team and we put on a good display.
“Our displays for quite a while now have been very organised, very disciplined and very consistent, with some good football played as well against teams that don’t always let us play.”
YOU CAN WATCH THE WHOLE OF THE MANAGER'S PRESS CONFERENCE BY SUBSCRIBING TO HATTERS PLAYER FOR JUST £19.99
Exclusive online commentary