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FOOTBALL: Boss Ford calls on City to take it one step at a time
Oxford City boss Mike Ford has urged his players not to be distracted by the romance of the competition and concentrate on tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth-qualifying round trip to Dover Athletic.
Goals from Marvin Robinson, Jamie Cook and Chris Willmott earned City a shock 3-2 win at Skrill South leaders Eastleigh in the last round.
Ford believes the Kent side, who are sixth in Skrill South, will provide a sterner challenge than Eastleigh as they look to reach the first round.
But he wants his team banish thoughts of Sunday’s draw.
“Having experienced it twice as a manager, it’s a fantastic feeling to get into the first round,” said Ford.
“There is nothing better than to be in the clubhouse at 1.30 on a Sunday afternoon waiting in anticipation of who you might get.
“You want to take that thought away from the game and think of it as a game of football against a very, very good side.
“This is what we do every Saturday at 3pm and you just get on with it.
“Unless we play the best that we possibly can at Dover, then I will be sat somewhere else.
“You can dream about the draw, you can fantasise about who you will get in the next round, but you have to produce a performance to get there.”
Ford, who watched Dover win 4-0 at Eastbourne on Tuesday, says they will provide a tough challenge.
“We have been drawn against Conference sides Maidenhead, Eastleigh and now Dover – and from what I have seen Dover are by far the best,” said Ford.
“They were dangerous up front and tight at the back.
“They came out of the traps quickly and scored three goals and got a penalty in the second-half.
“Because they were so dominant their keeper wasn’t really tested, so it’s our job to provide them that test.
“Dover were very professional and we will have to play even better there than we did at Eastleigh.”
City could give a debut to former Forest Green Rovers’ midfielder Michael Pook who has signed following his release by Maidenhead United.
Pook was an unused sub when City knocked his former side out of the Cup.
They will be without the cup-tied Chris Palmer, however, and Ford is mulling over who to start in attack.
He said: “Everyone else is available, so I need to start with the right lads upfront.
“Marvin (Robinson) and Mike Symons made us better when they came on against Worcester on Saturday, so are at the front of my mind.
“They will be favourites, but we have lost only once in the last seven and you only do that by playing well.
“I’ll be disappointed if we don’t play as well as we can, as it’s a special game.”
Oxford City: from Francoz, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Malone, Henderson, Willmott, McNish, Ballard, Basham, Robinson, Cook, Symons, Winters, Learoyd, Clifton, Pond, Scott.
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