Magic of the FA Cup excites Grimsby Town's Scott Neilson
SCOTT Neilson is targeting a hat-trick of FA Cup Fifth Round places after being cleared to play for Grimsby Town this weekend.
The on-loan winger is available after parent club Crawley Town gave him the green light to face Kidderminster Harriers in the Fourth Qualifying Round encounter at Blundell Park.
And after reaching the last-16 of the prestigious competition with Crawley in each of the last two seasons, the 25-year-old has his sights on a remarkable treble.
He told the Telegraph: "We played in the Fifth Round at Manchester United in 2011 and then again at home to Stoke last year.
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"So I'm aiming to get to the Fifth Round for the third year in a row, with Grimsby – I want that hat-trick!
"Those two seasons with Crawley when we also got promoted from the Conference and League Two were unbelievable.
"People say the cup is a distraction, but when you've got that momentum going and you're winning every week, you take that attitude into the FA Cup matches as well.
"Because we matched the work-rate of everybody else, and we had ability in our team, it just seemed to come through against the bigger sides and we did really well."
Neilson was unfortunate to miss out on Crawley's clash at Old Trafford – a match they only lost 1-0 – after breaking his foot just days before the tie.
He added: "That was so frustrating because I got injured away at Bath, and I was meant to be getting rested!
"It was only the last five minutes when the gaffer said 'go on and play' and then I got injured. That's football for you.
"But the following year we got to the Fifth Round again against Stoke and I got to play in that game.
"The dream tie for me this season would be to play against Crawley, but I don't think they'd allow me to play against them, somehow.
"I'm an Arsenal supporter so it would also be fantastic to land them at some stage in my career."
A liking for the FA Cup obviously runs in the family – Neilson's grandfather Cliff Jones won the famous trophy twice in a row with Spurs – including the 1961 league and cup double.
"That's really inspirational," he said. "I don't think I'll ever reach that kind of level but he tells me some great stories about when he used to play football and what he achieved with Spurs. It's unbelievable really.
"Some players in the Premier League or the Championship never reach the Fifth Round of the FA Cup so to achieve that is unbelievable.
"Now it's all about what Grimsby Town do this season – hopefully we can have a memorable run and get promoted."
He continued: "I'm delighted to be playing on Saturday and just want to play as many games as I can.
"I'm pleased that I'll be involved, but to be honest I thought I would be involved anyway – I couldn't see any reason why they (Crawley) would stop me.
"With the momentum we've got going now at Town, we don't really want to change anything.
"We're on a good run and sometimes if you mix it up too much you can spoil that – it's important to just keep that going.
"The league is obviously the one we're concentrating on the most, but the FA Cup can be a real bonus for us."