Published: 06:00, 06 February 2020
Deal Town are out to upset the odds in their biggest game for 20 years.
The Hoops make the 360-mile trip to County Durham to face Consett in the FA Vase last 16 this Saturday.
Their Northern League hosts are 6/1 third favourites to lift the trophy, with Derek Hares’ side 20/1 outsiders.
Few give Deal a chance of beating the north east club in their own backyard but Hares’ men, who are travelling up on Friday, will give everything against a side who have scored 71 goals in 26 league games.
Boss Hares said: “Everyone’s looking forward to it. It’s a massive game, the biggest the club’s had since winning the Vase 20 years ago.
“The boys will give it all they’ve got and that’s all you can ask.
“We have a couple of people who’ve watched Consett and we know they’re a very good side.
“They were on a great run before losing 3-0 on Saturday.
“We know we’re the outsiders but we were against Binfield and Southall and we beat them.
“Binfield were right up there in the betting before we played them.
“With the players they’ve signed, they were looking to win the Vase.”
At least 50 Deal fans are expected to make the journey – a supporters’ coach leaves at 6am on Saturday – and the team are out to do them proud.
Hares said: “It’s an early start for the supporters and we really appreciate them all coming up. It makes a massive difference.
“We’ll go out and play our normal game.
“If we sit back and defend I think we’re asking for trouble because they do score a lot of goals.
“We’ve always got goals in us as well and hopefully it goes well on the day. It’s different but everyone’s excited and the boys won’t be overawed by it.
“Some people never get the chance to play in a game like this so it’s important we go out and enjoy it.
“There’ll be a few more nerves.
“You just have to make sure that doesn’t affect you and I don’t think it will.”
Captain and playmaker Macauley Murray is Deal’s only injury doubt after pulling his thigh against Bearsted a couple of weeks ago.
Hares said: “We would want him in the side but if he’s not fit, we’ll get on with it. He’s desperate to play, as is everyone, but unfortunately only 11 players can start.”
Extra-time will be played if the teams are level after 90 minutes but if there’s still no winner, a replay will take place at the Charles Ground on Saturday week.
More by this authorCraig Tucker