No non-league shocks for Dion

CHRIS LAKEY Dion Dublin has been on both sides of the fence in the FA Cup so knows exactly what to expect at Tamworth today.


Dion Dublin has been on both sides of the fence in the FA Cup so knows exactly what to expect at Tamworth today.

The veteran striker spent four years at Cambridge United, two under John Beck, who is legendary in lower division circles for using any ploy, underhand or not, to get one over opponents.

It was that grounding which led to a hugely successful career for Dublin - and the perfect qualifications going into City's opening foray into this year's FA Cup competition.

“I had four great years at Cambridge United and I loved every year of it,” he said. “We had a successful time, we were getting six and seven thousands crowd, FA Cup runs, quarter-finals, Arsenal and Crystal Palace. Obviously we lost both but that's an experience, that of being an underdog side against bigger teams. I have experienced it all, and I am glad I have, I am glad I have done it the way I have done it and got where I have got because it just makes you realise what you have.”

Beck's reputation appears to have been well-earned: he allegedly demanded the grass at the Abbey Stadium be grown high in the corners in order to hold up the numerous long balls his team played. He turned up the heating in the visitors' changing rooms to unbearable levels - and left it there. And he provided the opposition with over-sweetened tea.

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All of which appears to ring a bell as far as Dublin is concerned.

“I've been part of things like that before,” he said. “I have had it done to me and I've done it to other people with clubs and stuff so whatever gives them the advantage. We did it at Cambridge United a few times - balls in the bath, sugar in the tea, all that kind of stuff. It's what you do to try and get the upper hand. What will be will be.”

What Tamworth will try, if anything, is anyone's guess, but Dublin knows there is a serious issue at stake and the experience of 18 years as a pro makes a valuable source of advice today.

“Obviously I have to prepare myself, but if I can pass on some information to the younger players and let them know what to expect I will,” he said. “It will be a full house, a good atmosphere. I can tell you right now sincerely that Tamworth are not going to be a pushover, I can guarantee you that. It is going to be a head to head, 16 versus 16, and if we are not at our best we are in for a shock.

“They are not easy games. I have been on both sides of the fence and whatever side of the fence you are on it is always difficult. The smaller club are playing against a very good side and vice versa, they're up for the upset.

“I know what the standard is like. I am sure they have got some decent players who have played in league football before so they will know what it is all about.

“We don't want a shock, we are going to have to do it from the whistle, play to our best and make it a very competitive game, because they will.”

Tamworth are expected to throw everything at City in the opening stages, trying to upset their rhythm and put the momentum firmly on their side.

“I think they will be there for the first 20, 45, 50 whatever,” he said.

“I am sure the manager is going to reiterate this tomorrow. We don't want any shocks, we have to do our job to our best and if we do that I think we will win the game.”