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Gillingham midfielder Robbie McKenzie looks forward to FA Cup match at AFC Fylde, evoking memories of Hull City's fourth round clash with Premier League Chelsea

Robbie McKenzie knows just how fired up the AFC Fylde players will be this weekend.

The Gillingham midfielder will be on the side of the favourites when they head to play the National League North side in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.

Robbie McKenzie will be preparing as normal for their FA Cup game at AFC Fylde. Picture: KPI
Robbie McKenzie will be preparing as normal for their FA Cup game at AFC Fylde. Picture: KPI

He’s also experienced life as the underdog, playing for Hull in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in a fourth round match in 2020.

McKenzie said: “They will make a big occasion about it and try their best to get through.

“They have nothing to lose, they will come out and give it everything they have got and that is where we are going to have to manage the game early on and hopefully it goes for us.

“I feel like, if we manage the game like we want to manage it, then we will come out on top.

“It is a special cup to be in and the boys are looking forward to it and a good challenge against Fylde. We will respect our opponents and try and do our job.

“I played against Chelsea in the FA Cup, so it can make special moments for us footballers. I felt like I had nothing to lose, it was about going out and enjoying ourselves and I think we did well on the day, we put up a good fight, and we got to play against some of the Premier League stars.

“It is still a big competition and when you get through to the latter stages you hope to draw the big teams and have a big day out with the fans.”

McKenzie’s first experience of the FA Cup as a player was for Hull against Millwall - losing 2-1 to a side managed by his current boss Neil Harris.

At Gillingham he’s had to compete in the early rounds, including a recent experience against another non-league opponent. Two years ago the Gills found themselves two goals down against Woking at Priestfield before fighting back to win 3-2. There were two divisions between the sides that day, as there will be this weekend when Harris' side head to AFC Fylde.

“It was a good game,” he recalled. “They had nothing to lose, putting everything on the line.”

McKenzie insists they will be treating the game this weekend as they would any other.

“As a team, we’ll approach it exactly as we would normally," he said.

“It can build confidence but I feel as a group we are quite confident and things aren’t falling for us at the moment, we’ll use the game as any other and try and get a bit of momentum going.

“Early doors we might have to calm the game down a bit because they will be wanting to impose themselves on the game early. We will go with our game plan and try and get through.”

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