After battering Chadderton 5-0 on Saturday to move into the last 16 of the FA Vase, AFC Mansfield manager Rudy Funk admitted his NCEL Division One side would be underdogs for their home tie with runaway Premier Division leaders Tadcaster Albion on Saturday, 7th February.
But Funk said he and his Bulls side were looking forward to the challenge against a club, eight points clear at the top, that includes a number of players from Funk’s former club Scarborough and who this season signed former Manchester United, West Brom and Forest midfielder Jonathan Greening.
“As far as I am concerned we are now the underdogs,” said Funk. “I know Tadcaster Albion very, very well as about six or seven of their side are ex-players of mine from Scarborough where we won the championship.
“Their manager Paul Marshall has assembled a great squad and we are looking forward to it.
“With no disrespect to anyone else, this is one of the biggest games this area has seen for a long time. As a club and community we are very proud of this.
“It is the Vase and this is for a place in the quarter-finals. So we will give it our best shot and hope Lady Luck in on our side and sees us through.”
It was third time lucky for the Bulls last weekend after the tie was twice postponed due to the bad weather. But, although they went up there in confident mood, no one saw Funk’s men winning with so much to spare.
“There was a lot of tension after the two postponements. The longer is goes the more nervous people get,” said Funk.
“To be perfectly honest the atmosphere was good and everything was right. But it was very tense just before the game and I never expected that scoreline.
“We started very brightly and played some fantastic football on a very difficult pitch, though that was the same for both sides.
“Once we had gone a goal ahead we felt very comfortable and just pushed on.
“The most important thing for me wasn’t the scoreline, it was the manner in which we won. We were absolutely fantastic right through the squad. Everyone put a shift in.”