THE first FA Cup game of the season is always a special weekend and we can’t wait to get out there and take on Yate Town this afternoon.
I’ve had mixed experiences in the FA Cup throughout my career but in my eyes it is still the biggest and best domestic cup competition in the world.
The good experience was when I got to the fifth round with Wigan, although I tended to get further in the League Cup down the years.
The bad and the ugly was when I was at Gillingham and we got knocked out by a non-league team and I got sent off.
So I’ve been a victim of cup fever and we certainly don’t want to experience that again at Yate today.
We want to go as far as possible. Anybody who doesn’t take the FA Cup seriously is missing out because you get to play teams you don’t normally play and there’s the chance of getting a big team in the draw.
Yate will be looking to get a scalp but we want to win to help the club financially, swell the coffers, and hopefully get a good draw tomorrow.
It’s good for the fans as well because I’m sure they would love a good cup run but you’ve got to treat every team with respect and we’re preparing as if we’re playing Luton.
Training has been as intense as ever and we’ll be doing everything we can to get a result.
I got a good 90 minutes against Macclesfield last week and I felt good. I think I was a lot sharper and fitter than I have been and away from home against a good Macclesfield team it was a decent result.
Wrexham and Forest Green lost so I think it was a point gained but we’ve got to forget about everyone else and concentrate on ourselves. If we keep getting a point on the road and three at home we won’t be far off come the end of the season.
It’s great to be top going into the FA Cup break but it doesn’t really matter where we are now, it’s where we are in April that matters.
We were featured on Football Focus and in national papers as well and that was good for the club’s profile.
I’m glad they didn’t show Jake Harris playing head tennis on the show because that would have been ugly viewing but publicity is good and it means we’re moving in the right direction.
One thing I wasn’t so happy about this week was being fined £10 for leaving my trainers on after the game on Saturday.
David Pipe is in charge of the fine book and you can be fined for all sorts of things – wearing the wrong kit, forgetting to bring a bottle of water out to training, too many people in the physio room, not returning equipment or even peeing in the shower.
Being late on a match day is probably the biggest one.
Jake Harris, Jake Thomson, Andrew Hughes, Ben Swallow, Lee Evans and Max Porter all got fined £5 this week for being on the worst team.
We don’t really argue with Pipey and he’s got a few grasses as well who keep him informed and like to see the kitty build up and we’ll do something with that at Christmas time.
It helps with the team spirit and we all enjoy the banter when you hear guys arguing over being grassed up.
All the players are looking forward to the centenary dinner at the Celtic Manor next Saturday.
It’ll be a great chance to celebrate the history of the club with a lot of ex-players and managers, see a few old faces, and also to mix with the fans.
It should be a good night. I’ve arranged for Ismail Yakubu to be a waiter for the dinner.
I’ll have a word with him and make sure he gets the food out nice and quick and keeps the wine topped up.
If he does a good job we might give him half an hour off so he can have a bite to eat as well.
Finally, thanks to all the people who turned up for the Lap for Latch charity event at Spytty Park last Sunday.
It was a good day with a great boxing exhibition with Sean McGoldrick and we raised some money for a good cause. Hopefully we’ll do another one soon.