Hornchurch boss dismisses underdog tag for FA Cup tie

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 September 2017

Elliot Styles of Hornchurch (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Elliot Styles of Hornchurch (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Hornchurch are set to make a 400-mile round trip to face Hereford FC in the FA Cup third qualifying round tomorrow (Saturday).

The Urchins face a big challenge against the club, formerly known as Hereford United, who reached the fourth round of the cup as recently as 2011 and were a strong Football League outfit for many years.

But manager Jim McFarlane is playing down the challenge and believes calling themselves massive underdogs is not the truth ahead of the trip to Edgar Street.

“I’ve been reading loads on the internet and on social media that we’re massive underdogs, I don’t buy that. Yes, we’re the underdog, but not a massive underdog,” he said.

“If we win there, which I think we’re more than capable of, I don’t think it would be classed as a giant-killing.

“Yes, they’re in a higher league and they’re a good side, but so are we, so we won’t be holding any fear.”

The Urchins boss admits they know what to expect from the Evo-Stik South Premier League side as they have done plenty of homework.

“My assistant manager went down on Saturday and watched them at Weymouth, to give us a good indication of what we’re up against and we’ll work on a few things in training to counteract what he watched,” he added.

“We’ve also had a couple of reports from managers in the same league that I know, so our preparation has been good.”

The last time Urchins reached the first round proper of the famous, old competition was in 2008 where they lost 1-0 to Peterborough at Bridge Avenue.

McFarlane has twice nearly led his team to that stage again, seeing them come up short in 2013 and 2015, and the manager believes the club are backing him to keep their cup run alive this year, adding: “We’re going down Friday night, the club have paid for us to travel and stay over night to give us every fighting chance.”

Hornchurch will be boosted by the return of captain Elliot Styles, who has missed the last couple of matches, but will be without the injured Alex Bentley and suspended George Purcell.

“Elliot will be fit, he’s back in training and has been in brilliant form this year, so it will be good to have him back,” said McFarlane.

“Alex Bentley is still three to four weeks away.”

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