Grimsby Town skipper Craig Disley wants more FA Cup joy
CRAIG Disley knows all about springing an FA Cup upset – but tomorrow the Grimsby Town skipper will be desperate to avoid one.
The Mariners midfielder was part of the Bristol Rovers side which reached the quarter-finals of the competition in 2008.
The League One Pirates dispatched Premier League Fulham and Championship Southampton en route to the last-eight before West Brom ended their adventure one match shy of a Wembley appearance.
And Disley wants Rovers' giant-killing exploits to inspire Town – once they've negotiated tomorrow's Fourth Qualifying Round clash with Kidderminster Harriers, of course.
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"I really look forward to the cup games – personally I've had some great experiences in the FA Cup.
"And tomorrow is a great chance for us to get to the First Round and take on a Football League side.
"It's great for us because it will hopefully give us that chance to test ourselves against teams from higher divisions.
"We'll probably go into the game as favourites. We're on a good run at the moment and we're looking dangerous.
"However, Kidderminster have definitely picked up their form since we played them earlier in the season and I'm sure they'll see a chance to progress as well.
"It's a big carrot for both teams to get into the First Round and start a run."
The 31-year-old continued: "The FA Cup is always a special competition for everyone. Every kid dreams of playing in the cup final.
"I've played quite a few games in the cup and had some good experiences – they're memories that I'll look back on when I finish playing.
"Our run at Rovers was the year when all the big sides crashed out and Portsmouth won it.
"We were one game away from a semi-final at Wembley, which for a team in League One at the time would have been a great achievement. We played Fulham over two matches, drawing at Craven Cottage and beating them on penalties at home.
"That was a great achievement in itself but then Southampton came and we managed to beat them as well.
"That shows that teams from the lower divisions can compete and cause upsets – on the day anyone can beat anyone."
The Mariners saw both sides of the 'magic' of the FA Cup last season, beating League Two Port Vale before crashing out to Salisbury City in the Second Round.
That home defeat to the Blue Square Bet South side denied Town a trip to Bramall Lane to play Sheffield United.
"Last year was so frustrating," admitted Disley.
"We played well against Port Vale over two games and got through, then we're expected to beat Salisbury with a big match against Sheffield United waiting at the end of it, and we slipped up. That was very disappointing but we'll take that as motivation into the campaign this season.
"If we do get the chance of taking on a big side again hopefully we'll learn from that and do the job properly."
Town's on-loan winger Scott Neilson yesterday spoke in the Telegraph about his recent FA Cup runs with parent club Crawley.
And Disley believes that the Red Devils' achievements should encourage the Mariners to aim high.
"There's always a non-league team that goes well in the cup every year, so there's no reason why that can't be us," he said.
"Even though Crawley were underdogs in games over the last two seasons they didn't care and caused upsets along the way.
"We've just got to make sure we're in the hat for the First Round and in a position to do the same.
"If we do progress further we will be the underdogs on occasions this year and teams like that should inspire us."
He added: "A cup run captures the imagination of everyone, the whole town. At Bristol Rovers everyone got so caught up in it and we'd love to do the same for the fans here.
"Fingers-crossed that can happen but it all starts tomorrow and we need to make sure we beat Kidderminster first. It would be great for our younger lads to have some great FA Cup experiences as well, starting tomorrow."