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Gaffer’s reaction to cup draw

22 October 2019

Mansfield Town manager John Dempster has insisted an Emirates FA Cup run is high on his agenda, after the Stags were drawn at home to Chorley in the first round of the competition yesterday.

The Magpies currently sit in the National League relegation places, but the gaffer has stressed his team will not take anything for granted when they visit One Call Stadium.

“We’re pleased that we’re at home,” he said.

“We know the Conference is a strong league and that the teams in it are very competitive.

“Chorley will bring a real challenge and will be desperate to progress to the next round but so will we.

“The financial benefits for the football club are great but not only that, from our past experiences where we did have a good cup run, it can bring the town and the club together.

“We’ve reminded the players of that and it’s important that everybody respects the FA Cup and we go as far as we can.”

“When I sat down with the chairman [John Radford] initially, we spoke at length about the vision of this football club and he was clear that the FA Cup was something we would not overlook.

“It’s [the Emirates FA Cup] a really serious competition for us and we’ll be looking to progress into the next round, there’s no doubt about that.”

John Dempster has been fortunate enough to experience some real highs in the Emirates FA Cup as a player, including trips to Old Trafford and Elland Road.

His favourite memory though, was playing against his boyhood club Liverpool, in the third round for the Stags in 2013.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez ensured the six-time European Champions avoided an upset at One Call Stadium, running out narrow 2-1 winners.

The Mansfield boss believes the experience of playing the Premier League giants was the catalyst for the Stags’ National League title-winning season. The manager has now challenged his players to make sure they experience similar memories, by progressing as far as possible.

“Of course, my best memory of the FA Cup was playing against Liverpool, the team I support; at the One Call and it’s up to the players to put up a real fight so we can experience something similar.”

“You hear about some managers saying that the cups can be a distraction, but it certainly wasn’t for us in our title-winning season.

“It was a springboard for us to go on our unbeaten run and get back into the league because it really energised the town and pulled us all together.

“The build up was amazing, the media coverage was massive. I can remember shaking hands with Luis Suarez and Brendan Rodgers, it was a wonderful experience that we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives.

“That’s how important our game with Chorley is, because they stand in the way of another potential experience like that.

“Of course, the league is the main aim and finishing as high as possible, but we definitely want to go as far as we can in the FA Cup.”

The tie will be played over the weekend of 09 November. Further fixture details will be announced in due course.

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