Sinnott Speaks: It’s a massive weekend for Alty, but I’ll be telling the lads to just get on with it

Altrincham FC vs Barnsley FC - November 2015-137
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Altrincham FC manager Lee Sinnott gives us the inside track on the Robins’ progress this season in the Vanarama National League. Here’s his latest column for Altrincham Today ahead of tomorrow’s second-round FA Cup clash at Colchester.

It’s a massive weekend for everyone at Altrincham Football Club as we travel down to Essex to take on Colchester United in the Emirates FA Cup for a second round tie.

We are travelling today (Saturday) and staying overnight at a hotel at Stansted Airport with the match having been moved to a 2pm kick-off tomorrow (Sunday) as the game has been chosen as one of eight FA Cup ties to be covered live on BBC 1’s ‘Final Score’ programme at 1.45pm.

We have sold over 350 tickets and we know that many of our supporters, who are based in the south of England, will be buying tickets on the day, so we should have around 400 fans there, which is a magnificent travelling support.

Colchester Utd's ground, The Weston Homes Community Stadium
Colchester Utd’s ground, The Weston Homes Community Stadium

Cochester’s impressive ground holds over 10,000, but the surroundings will hold no fears for our players, as we are used to playing in Football League standard stadia, with there being so many former Football League clubs in our own league… from that perspective, it will be no different than going to the likes of Wrexham, Grimsby or Torquay.

I played for a lot of managers during my career and I’ll be taking a similar approach to one of them to prepare the team for Sunday’s game.

In 1995, I was captain of the Huddersfield Town side that beat Bristol Rovers in the Second Division Play-Off Final at Wembley. There were almost 60,000 fans in the ground, but our manager, Neil Warnock, said: “This is a day of work, boys. It’s a game of football. Forget the surroundings and get on with it.” That will be the gist of tomorrow’s address to all of the players, because that’s how we got through against Barnsley.

Josh O'Keefe will miss tomorrow's game
Josh O’Keefe will miss tomorrow’s game

It’s very disappointing to be without Josh O’Keefe and Luca Havern through suspension, who were both sent off in last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Forest Green. We hadn’t had a player sent off all season until that game, then two players see red in five minutes. There were no complaints about Luca’s two yellow cards, but we were disappointed to lose out on the appeal against Josh’s straight red, although to be fair, the camera angle wasn’t the best for the video evidence to be conclusive.

I believe that Altrincham haven’t reached the FA Cup 3rd Round for over 20 years. I know this set of players are capable of getting a result at Colchester and it would be a great achievement if we can be in the draw on Monday evening.

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