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Maidstone United head of football John Still on the prospect of upsetting Blackpool in FA Cup second round

John Still has a dream as Maidstone prepare to face Blackpool in the FA Cup second round.

Seventy-two places separate the clubs, with the Tangerines eighth in League 1 and United ninth in National South.

Hakan Hayrettin and John Still take Maidstone to Blackpool on Sunday Picture: Steve Terrell
Hakan Hayrettin and John Still take Maidstone to Blackpool on Sunday Picture: Steve Terrell

Maidstone are big underdogs going into Sunday's tie at Bloomfield Road, which kicks off at 2pm, but head of football Still is an old romantic where the cup is concerned.

He said: "We have to fancy it. When you do this job, when you play football or you manage teams, you've got to have dreams, haven't you?

"When you're a kid you want to play for Manchester United or Manchester City or Arsenal.

"Not many do but if you haven't got a dream..."

Blackpool have lost just their three of their 18 League 1 matches this season.

They boast former Premier League players Jay Spearing and Nathan Delfouneso and in Simon Grayson a manager who took them into the Championship during his first spell in charge.

They would go on to reach the Premier League under Ian Holloway in 2010 and are at last on the up again following a change of ownership.

Blackpool manager Simon Grayson Picture: Ady Kerry
Blackpool manager Simon Grayson Picture: Ady Kerry

Still said: "They were a Premier League club when Ollie was there.

"I know they had problems ownership-wise but that's out the way and that seems to have rekindled the club.

"I've been there, I've taken teams there, it's a proper football club with a proper stadium and they're playing winning football at the moment.

"All we can do is play to our absolute maximum.

"If that isn't good enough, we turn around, come home and we've had a great day.

"But if they don't play to their maximum as well, it might give us half a chance.

"When people people say, 'What's the best upset you've had?' I say, 'It hasn't come yet.'"

John Still and Hakan Hayrettin have led Maidstone to the FA Cup second round Picture: Sean Aidan
John Still and Hakan Hayrettin have led Maidstone to the FA Cup second round Picture: Sean Aidan

Ibby Akanbi, Ross Marshall and Jonny Edwards picked up injuries in the two FA Trophy games with Dartford and will be monitored before Maidstone name their squad.

Stones fans are set to travel in good numbers to the north west as the club chase a place in third round for the first time 1988.

They'll win £54,000 in prize money and a place in Monday night's draw if they pull it off, opening the door to a possible tie against Premier League or Championship opposition.

That would be a magic moment for Stones fans who are enjoying yet another cup run.

Still said: "One of the reasons the supporters have bought into the players is, even when we're poor, people normally work their socks off and give everything and throw themselves in front of shots.

"That's a great commodity to have.

"Sometimes we don't play as well as we'd like but it's very rare, probably once or twice, that we could point the finger and say that's nowhere near the standard of what we accept in terms of commitment."

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