DANNY Cowley says his Concord players are totally focussed on tonight’s FA Cup replay at Welling – despite the prospect of a cracking-looking Essex derby with Thurrock in the next round should they get through.
Monday’s draw handed the victors of tonight’s replay at Park View Road a home tie with Mark Stimson’s side in the third qualifying round, but Cowley admits it will be foolhardy to start thinking about that at this stage.
He said: “Our players are all only focused on this game with Welling because what is beyond that is irrelevant until it is finished.
“I expect the replay to be harder than it was on Saturday because it will be in front of about 600 people at their ground and on their pitch, which is bigger.
“I think on Saturday we were underdogs, and we will be even bigger underdogs in this game.
“But we are looking forward to it because we are competing in the best cup competition in the world and playing against one of the best non-league sides in the country.”
A 75th minute Harry Elmes penalty earned Concord a replay following a 1-1 draw at the Aspect Arena on Saturday.
The Wings had taken a first-half lead through Ross Lafayette, and Cowley, below, admits it was a game of two halves.
“They were better in the first half but we shaded the second half in terms of possession and territory and we deserved our goal,” he said.
“And we matched them overall so we will take confidence from our performance and the result.
“What we need to do is implement our game plan and make them work hard to deal with us and just be less passive.”
Whatever tonight’s result, Concord will benefit from half of the gate receipts and that’s likely to mean a boost of thousands of pounds for the club’s coffers.
A win would earn an extra £4,500 in prize money, and also a take them a step closer to FA Cup dreamland for non-league sides – a chance to play a league side in the first round proper.
Cowley said: “Of course it will be great to get through because it would set up that match with Thurrock, and that would mean at least one Ryman Premier team will be one game away from a match with the big boys – potentially someone like Sheffield United.
“(Thurrock manager) Mark Stimson has managed in the league and he’s very experienced, so it will be a very tough game even if we do get through.
“But that is all a long way away, and we’re just focusing on Welling at the moment.” Cowley said there were a couple of injury niggles in his squad but that he expected them all to be fit and ready to play tonight.
>Kick-off tonight is at 7.45pm, and admission is £12 for adults, £7 concessions, and £3 for under-12s who are accompanied by an adult.