ARGYLE’S FA Cup first-round tie against Fylde is one that John Sheridan is certainly looking forward to......as he welcomes old friends and opponents alike to Home Park to take part in a competition he calls “the biggest in the world.”
Whilst Bonfire Night may be a distant memory by 3pm on Saturday, the Cup fixture may well conjure up a few fireworks at the Theatre of Greens.
All three of Argyle’s previous cup games at Home Park have produced at least four goals, starting with the 3-2 defeat to Port Vale in the same competition last season; the 3-3 draw with Leyton Orient in the opening round of this season’s 2014-15 Capital One Cup; and the epic 3-2 win against Swindon Town in the last round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
“The FA Cup is massively important for a club like us,” said John.
“The one thing I wanted from the draw was a home tie. Obviously you get a non-league team and you are strong favourites to win it, but that can undo you.
“Every year in the FA Cup, it is always the attraction for lower-league teams to draw one of the big boys.
“The FA Cup is the biggest competition in the world for me, still. You look forward to the draw, to see what comes out of the hat, and it gives you that bit of belief if you can get on a good run.”
Following their promotion from the Northern Premier League Premier Division, Fylde are flying high atop the Conference North, but did suffer an away defeat to Boston United in their most recent game.
They have been under the management of Dave Challinor since 2011, who Sheridan went up against during their playing days in the early 1990s.
“I am sure I played against him when he was at Tranmere, and I was at Oldham,” he said. “He was a good player, and did well at Tranmere. People talk more about his long throw but he was good, steady centre-half.
“He has got [Fylde] playing really well, with a bit of confidence and one or two decent players.”
Aside from Bobby Reid, who Bristol City do not want cup-tied, John will have all of his squad available to him for the game, with the likes of Deane Smalley and Lee Cox pushing hard for a place in the starting XI.
Fylde, meanwhile, welcome back Tom Eckersley from a long-term injury, but will have to sweat on the fitness of Matty Blinkhorn, as they await the results of a scan.
The red card received by Coasters captain Bradley Barnes in their victory over King’s Lynn in the previous round means he will definitely miss out on the game – something that John is as displeased about as anyone, as Bradley is the son of one of his childhood friends.
“I grew up with him in the same area of Manchester and still see him,” said John. “Funnily enough, I saw him a week before the draw and said it would be funny if we got Fylde!
“Unfortunately [Bradley] got sent off – he is absolutely gutted, and I am gutted for him as well. It is a shame, and he is spewing, but I think they are both still coming to the game.”