It's FA Cup time! Banbury United focused for televised tie with Barrow
Whing: 'It's the FA Cup - there's always upset potential. They are a really good team but we will give it our best shot'
It’s the big one! There’s just two days to go as unbeaten Banbury United prepare to welcome Barrow - and the television cameras - for the first round of the Emirates FA Cup.
And as excitement mounts for supporters and everyone involved at the club, Andy Whing has had no trouble keeping his players focused on the job in hand.
“Obviously it’s a really big week for us,” he said. “Everyone is really looking forward to it.
“To be fair to the lads they’ve been absolutely brilliant. We’ve always concentrated on one game at a time, that’s how we’ve kept the unbeaten run going.”
And they’ve had plenty to take their attention this week, with two more cup games.
United made it 18 games unbeaten since the start of the season, when they won 1-0 at Corby in the third qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday thanks to Chris Wreh scoring and some fantastic saves by goalkeeper Ben Taylor.
And on Tuesday evening in the Southern League Challenge Cup against Thame United, a 4-2 victory stretched their incredible run to 19.
Fighting back from conceding an early goal, Chinedu Osadebe levelled and Ethan Johnson made it 2-1 just before half time, for Banbury who included several trialists and development team players.
Osadebe scored his second for 3-1 and Jay Williams made it four on the hour before the visitors added a late consolation in an entertaining game.
The Puritans manager added: “We’ve stayed focused on the task in hand which is always the next game, that’s how we keep playing it.”
Adding to the tremendous achievement of reaching the FA Cup first round proper for the second year running, the underdogs’ game against their Sky Bet League Two visitors will be shown live on ITV4, kicking off at 5.15pm.
“Some of the lads have been on TV before as we had cameras here for our Canvey Island game last year,” said Whing. “We have a really young squad, but they played in front of 1500 here for the Bath City game (when Banbury won 1-0 in the last round) so it shouldn’t affect them. They’re just really looking forward to it.”
But he knows the tie with Barrow at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium will be far from easy.
“It will be a really tough game for us,” said Whing. “They are three leagues higher, have a really good manager and have done really well getting promoted back into the Football League.”
Barrow are currently 15th out of the 24 League Two clubs and lost 2-1 to Rochdale at the weekend.
“They are always dangerous going forward, we’ve had them watched and watched videos of them,” he added.
“But you never know. This is FA Cup football, that’s why the cameras will be here. There’s always upset potential.
“They are a really good team, but we will give it our best shot.
“It’s a great occasion for the football club, for all the effort by the volunteers, staff and everyone behind the scenes who have worked so hard through covid.
“Last year we couldn’t have fans to watch when we reached the first round proper for the first time in nearly 50 years, which was a crying shame.
“To be able to do it this year as well and for the fans to be able to share it this time, it will be an unbelievable atmosphere.”
Following last weekend’s victory, United have been drawn away to Farnborough in First Round Proper of the FA Trophy on Saturday, November 13.