City plot­ting re­venge as Black­pool head to Devon for FA Cup clash

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Sport - BY STU­ART JAMES

Ex­eter City take a break from League Two ac­tion to­day when they make their en­trance in the FA Cup this sea­son, hop­ing to knock out Black­pool – who beat them in the 2017 League Two play-off fi­nal.

A 2-1 de­feat for the Gre­cians that day meant it was the Tan­ger­ines rather than the Gre­cians who won pro­mo­tion at Wem­b­ley in a bit­ter taste of de­feat that was re­peated a year later when the Gre­cians lost again, this time to Coven­try City.

Since their pro­mo­tion, Black­pool have fared well in the third tier and are cur­rently ninth, just three points shy of the play-off zone, so if City – strug­gling for goals and form right now – are to get re­venge this week­end, it will take quite an ef­fort.

“It’s been tough with a cou­ple of re­sults that we have had as we had been on a bril­liant run,” said City’s nine­goal top scorer Jay­den Stock­ley.

“There’s no need to panic. It’s just about get­ting back to the things that we do best and hope­fully go on an­other run.

“We have spo­ken about it and in a few of the away games, things could have swung our way and we have been un­lucky and un­for­tu­nate with that, so maybe it is a good dis­trac­tion to have the FA Cup this week­end and test our­selves against a higher league team.

“We played Bris­tol Rovers in pre-sea­son and it is al­ways nice to test your­self against a team that’s in a higher divi­sion and try and im­press.”

The Gre­cians beat Bris­tol Rovers 4-0 in that game Stock­ley refers to – but Black­pool in the FA Cup will be a far greater propo­si­tion.

For Stock­ley, though, play- ing in the FA Cup brings about a fresh­ness and a change from the daily rou­tine of bread and but­ter League Two foot­ball.

“Play­ing at home is al­ways a nice feel­ing. I am glad I don’t have to do that [Black­pool] trip, we have had a few long trips re­cently, so I am glad that we are play­ing back at home,” he said. “Hope­fully we can get back to win­ning ways be­cause we were on a re­ally good run be­fore the For­est Green game and it would be nice to get a good win at home.”

The win­ners from the clash will pocket £36,000 in prize money and a place in the sec­ond-round draw, which would leave them one step short of a po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive third-round clash against a Premier League side.

Last sea­son, 25-year-old Stock­ley scored five goals as City reached the third round [at which stage they lost at home to West Bromwich Al­bion] with wins over Hey­bridge Swifts and For­est Green Rovers, but, as he re­mem­bers so well, it should have been more.

“I should have scored six if it wasn’t for that sit­ter against West Brom, when I missed from a yard,” he said with a smile. “Last year was the best run I have ever had in it [the FA Cup] and the first time I’ve re­ally played in it.

“It’s a nice chance to get some goals in it as I did last year against some teams, but it just has a dif­fer­ent feel about it.

“You dream of go­ing far in the FA Cup and for a club like us, it is about get­ting that big draw, but we have a tough game against Black­pool coming up first and it will take a re­ally good per­for­mance to beat them.

“Black­pool are do­ing re­ally well in League One this year and they are a good team.

“It’s up to us to pay our re­spect and then start on the front foot and hope­fully get a good re­sult.”

MICAH CROOK/PPAUK

City striker Jor­dan Stock­ley is in a goalscor­ing mood ahead of the Gre­cians’ FA Cup first-round home game against Black­pool this af­ter­noon

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