Ryan Tafazolli dreams of big FA Cup run for Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town's Ryan Tafazolli.
Mansfield Town's Ryan Tafazolli.

Ryan Tafazolli said the lure of a big name draw in round three was a major spur for Mansfield Town to try to see off League One visitors Oldham Athletic in Saturday’s FA Cup first round.

Although he didn’t play in the game, centre half Tafazolli can still remember the visit of Liverpool in 2013 and Stags have come so close to big ties in the following two seasons when beaten in round two.

“Obviously every player would like to do well in the FA Cup and draw a big team in the third round,” he said.

“That is the motivation. Every boy dreams of playing at Old Trafford, Anfield, The Emirates, even if we draw a big team at home, it would be unbelievable.

“I think Saturday will be a massive test for us. We are up against a good side from the league above us and it will be good to test ourselves against better opposition.

“Our luck in the FA Cup seems to be pretty good, drawing Liverpools etc, so I think if we can just get past the first couple of rounds and keep our fingers crossed, we can hopefully get one of those big teams again.

“People always refer to the magic of the FA Cup. You never know what to expect from the other team and they won’t know what to expect from us. It’s a one-off game and a great opportunity to show people what we can do.”

Last season Stags bowed out to Cambridge in a second round replay after overcoming Conference South Concord Rangers in a replay at one of Tafazolli’s old clubs.

“Obviously I spent a brief time at Concord after Southampton, just playing a few games,” he said.

“They were a couple of leagues below us but even that proved a really hard game and they ended up taking us back to their place and we had to grind out a result there.”

The defender said another incentive was to put last weekend’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat by Wycombe quickly behind them.

“The result was a disappointing one but I think if you break down the performance and actually look at the stats you will see we were the better side,” he said.

“But their game plan paid off a little better than ours as they got the early goal and just sat back. We probably weren’t expecting them to score as early as they did. We have been unbelievable this season so far and we’ve just got to carry on doing what we’re good at and we’ll pick up results.

“Oldham will come here and be the favourites so we have to be prepared for what they are going to throw at us, but I think we are a good side and we will be able to deal with whatever they do come with.”