Hornchurch hoping to upset Grimsby

McFarlane: It wouldn’t be the biggest shock

Hornchurch are not going to Grimsby just for a nice day out, says manager Jimmy McFarlane.

Urchins are travelling up to the north East coast today, ahead of their FA Trophy tie tomorrow.

And McFarlane says his men are looking forward to the challenge of facing the former Football League club.

“We’re not going up there for a day out, although I know the fans will be,” said McFarlane.

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“It’s a rest from the league and it’s a win-win situation for us. No-one fancies us to get a result, but it wouldn’t be the biggest upset down the year.

“We’ve had them watched and they’re a good side. Someone said they’ve only lost once in 16 games and that was extra time in the FA Cup.

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“They’re well organised and will probably go on and reach the (Conference) play-offs, but it will be on a nice pitch, which will suit us.”

Hornchurch have won 11 out of 13 away games in the Ryman Premier Division this season and took over at the top of the table in midweek.

They have also won at Wingate, Thurrock and Farnborough on their way to the last 32 of the Trophy, but will be without 19-goal top scorer Martin Tuohy, who starts a three-game ban.

Urchins are hoping Lewis Smith is available to play, having appealed against his FA charge, and expect Rickie Hayles and Simon Glover to shake off minor knocks.

McFarlane added: “Martin is the leading scorer in the league and you can’t fill that gap easily. But we’ve got players who have played at that level and above and won’t be intimidated by the occasion.

“Aaron Gayle is still coming back from injury but will probably play some part.

“It looks like a lovely stadium, what you’d expect from an old Football League club, but I do still think it’s a bit unfair that full-time clubs are allowed to enter the competition.”

Anthony Elding leads the line for Grimsby, but McFarlane played FA Cup ties against Luton and Oldham during his long career at Thurrock, coming up against the likes of Steve Howard, who went on to play in the Premier League.

And he added: “I was disappointed with the level of the strikers, to be honest. There wasn’t a great deal of difference.”

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