Ely City are potentially just 90 minutes away from making club history at the weekend, but manager Brady Stone will not be burdening his players with any extra pressure.
For just the second time ever, the Robins have reached the last 16 (fourth round) of The Buildbase FA Vase after three consecutive victories on the road, which has set up Saturday’s home tie against Leicestershire-based Shepshed Dynamo (3pm).
With a place in the club’s record books at stake, the hope is that a good crowd will flock to the Unwin Ground in anticipation.
But while their run may have lifted expectations levels among the supporters, Stone insisted it will be business as usual for his charges.
“We want a big crowd. People have been coming up to me in the town saying they will be coming along, so there is a real buzz,” said the Ely chief.
“With more supporters through the gate and some extra friends and family watching on, it is probably natural for there to be some added expectation.
“But as far as I am concerned, nothing has changed and we will not be building it up too much.
“We have massively overachieved in getting this far. We have had some good sides at Ely down the years and for this to be just the second time we have gone this far shows how brilliant the lads have done.
“It has been an unbelievable run and we will be out celebrating on Saturday night as a team — win, lose or draw,”
Stone’s men opened up with games against Kirkley & Pakefield and Diss Town — both teams within the Thurlow Nunn League system and therefore not unknown quantities.
In contrast, very little was known about Northampton on Chenecks, Wadham Lodge and Welwyn Garden City, yet Stone opted not to scout them.
It is the same this time around, with the boss keen to focus on his squad’s plus points, rather than worry about the threat posed by a team currently 14th in the Midland Football League Premier Division
“We know what we are good at and will be sticking to that,” added Stone, whose side go into the tie with back-to-back league wins under their belt.
“Watching teams tends to get you caught up on them and how they can hurt you.
“We will play to our strengths and hope that on the day it is enough — it has been so far.”
New signing Adie Cambridge (cup tied) is the only unavailable player.
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