Mansfield Town dreaming big as they begin their FA Cup adventure

Mansfield Town v  Grimsby Town.'David Flitcroft thanks the fans for their support after victory over Grimsby Town.
Mansfield Town v Grimsby Town.'David Flitcroft thanks the fans for their support after victory over Grimsby Town.

Manager David Flitcroft said Mansfield Town, and every club involved, will this week be allowed to ‘dream big’ as they begin this season’s FA Cup adventure at home to Charlton Athletic on Sunday (12.45pm).

It will be a stiff first round test against the League One high-flyers, but Flitcroft knows the value of a good cup run.

“When you talk about the commercial value of it, it’s massive for football. It keeps our pyramid the best in the world and gives everyone hope,” he said.

“Sometimes the FA Cup can save a club. A cup run can keep a club going for years and years.

“I don’t think we are good at dreaming big in this country. I think the Americans dream big.

“We seem to suffocate those dreams at a young age with children. We tell them they can’t do this or that.

“But the FA Cup gives every fan hope and a chance to dream big as there have been so many upsets and underdog stories that have come true.

“The Champions League is an enormous competition. But with the FA Cup, everyone starts with it and everybody can achieve greatness in it.”

Although they have injury worries and ongoing issues over the protracted sale of the club, Flitcroft has no doubts how big a hurdle Charlton will pose. But he believes the home supporters can be his side’s biggest advantage.

“We’ve got a good pitch and they are a very good footballing team,” he said.

“They are coming to a League Two club and I am sure they will be pleasantly surprised what they find.

“They could have got a non-League team where it’s tight and they are disadvantaged.

“With what our owners have done here – it’s now a phenomenal set-up and super-professional. So we don’t have that advantage really.

“What we have got is our supporters. When we get this place rocking, as I hope we can on Sunday, then that becomes a factor for teams from a higher level that are expected to win the game. It gives them a problem.”

He added: “They do have injuries to key players. But some of the players they can bring in like Jamie Ward and Nicky Ojose are good players at any level.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for us to pit our wits against their players.

“They are a fantastic football club with tradition and they have a good manager and a good team who are doing well in League One.

“We know they are going to have the ball a bit more than a League Two team that might just get the ball forward really early and play direct football.

“They are a really attractive team who want to play through the pitch and want to try to break you down and dismantle you which we have to be on our guard against.”