DUCKS AIM TO BE TOP OF THE BILL
AT the start of the season, Shaw Lane had never won an FA Cup game – now they’re dreaming of the first round Promised Land.
The EVO-STIK Premier Ducks broke their cup duck back in September when they beat Radcliffe Borough.
An impressive second round qualifying win at National League North Blyth Spartans followed before they overcame league rivals Lancaster City last weekend.
Now they’ve been drawn against National League side Barrow with the winners taking their place in the hat when EFL clubs enter the competition.
And boss Craig Elliott wants his players to seize the opportunity.
“The FA Cup is one thing we really wanted to do well in this season,” Elliott told The
NLP. “Since I’ve been at the club we’ve won promotions, done well in local cups and had a good Trophy run last year. But the FA Cup is the one we’ve never really been ready for.
“We’ve been lucky enough to win three games. We’ve got a difficult game in Barrow next but it’s an occasion. It’s a day and a game to look forward to. That’s what it’s about – creating memories for the club and creating history as we go along. This is part of it. “We got Blyth away and it couldn’t have been harder at the time. They’d won six or seven on the trot and were scoring goals for fun. But we beat them. “It’s the same now. You might not think we can beat Barrow, but it’s the FA Cup! We’re underdogs and we’ll give it our best shot.” With players like Damian Reeves, David Norris and Chib Chilaka in their ranks, the Yorkshire side have players who know what it takes to cause an upset. And the Step 1 Bluebirds won’t be jumping for joy when they see their opponent’s league position. After winning the NPL South title last season, they’ve continued their good momentum by winning 13 out of 14 games in all competitions, while also topping the table after ten wins in their first 13 league matches.
“We can’t complain,” Elliott said. “It’s going a lot of better than I thought. We’re doing well in the FA Cup and top of the league, which is even more remarkable considering we lost our first two games of the season. We’ll just enjoy it as much as we can.
“We just wanted to be an established Premier division club. We realise we’ve come a long way quickly and we just want to find our feet and feel like we’re part of the division.
“We didn’t want to go down, but we didn’t expect to be up the top. There are some big teams, on and off the pitch with fan bases and budgets, so it was just to establish ourselves.
“That’s still the aim, to be honest. We’re still visiting grounds and teams we’ve never visited, so it’s about enjoying the ride. That’s what we want to do this year.”