Lowestoft Town urged to be this season’s story in the FA Cup ahead of trip to Tamworth
- Credit: Greg Kwasnik/Focus Images Ltd
Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming insists the FA Cup has lost none of its magic for his players ahead of their third qualifying round tie at Tamworth this afternoon, kick-off 3pm.
While some elite clubs regard the competition as a nuisance, it is the lifeblood for many non-league clubs, whose futures can be transformed on the potential financial windfall a cup run provides.
And players outside of the Football League still feel the buzz of excitement around an FA Cup weekend according to Fleming.
The former Norwich City defender has urged his squad to seize their opportunity and become 'the story' of this season's competition.
'I've been trying to stress to the lads that every year there is a story in the FA Cup and there's no reason why we can't be that story this season,' he said. 'There is still a bit of magic about the competition particularly for players at this level. Everyone grows up with the competition and I think it has a place in every football fan's heart. Players aren't any different to that.'
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The Trawlerboys had a taste of the kind of focus a cup runs brings when they went all the way to the first round proper before losing out to a late goal at Wrexham.
'We were so close to being the story in 2009, but it's within touching distance for us again,' said Fleming, whose side disposed of Coalville in the second qualifying round after a replay. 'We're only a couple of games away from that stage again and we've got the ability to go on.'
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Lowestoft are yet to taste victory on the road so far this season but opponents Tamworth have found life difficult in Conference North following their relegation from the Premier.
Despite winning just once so far in the league this season, Fleming believes the Lambs will provide stern opposition to their cup dreams.
'It's another tough game for us – we will be travelling up on the day this time,' he said. 'They've had a tricky start but what we're finding in this league is that if you are not 100pc on your game then you're going to get found out.
'In the Ryman you could sometimes get away with being at 80pc but not against teams at this level.'
Lowestoft have several injury worries going into the game with Rossi Jarvis, Ashlee Jones and Dan Gleeson all major doubts due to hamstring injuries whilst Jake Reed is cup tied. Fleming admitted he is growing concerned at the amount of injuries his squad are suffering and wants to get to the root of the issue.
'We had a meeting with Colin (Whiteman) the physio after the match on Tuesday because we are picking up a lot of soft tissue injuries,' said Fleming. 'We think it is down to the amount of travelling that we are doing but we are looking at ways we can get round it.
'You can do work to strengthen certain muscles but it is very difficult. Gleeson struggles because of the back problems he has had in the past and I remember when I had a back problem with Norwich that long journeys used to exacebate the problem.
'It's not going to change though so we have just got to get on with it and find a way around it.'