‘Underdogs’ Runcorn Linnets told to embrace Chorley FA Cup challenge after social media criticism

Runcorn Linnets manager Billy Paynter

Runcorn Linnets manager Billy Paynter is blocking out external noise as he calls on his side to be “brave” against Chorley in the FA Cup.

Linnets have endured an indifferent start to their 2022/23 campaign. Their Isuzu FA Trophy journey came to a disappointing end after they were edged out on penalties against Witton Albion.

Their clash with Jon Macken’s side came just days after North West Counties side Charnock Richard took them the distance in the FA Cup. Last year’s beaten playoff finalists eventually edged  past the lower-league opposition late on in extra-time.

Despite their hopes of a run in the Trophy coming to an end, Paynter believes there is positive signs amid the injuries in attacking areas hampering their output. 

“I think we have been playing some good football, it’s just once we get into that final third and it’s having those bodies to get into those areas,” he told Off The Park.

“We’re having shots on goal but we haven’t started the season with a striker due to injuries, we’re missing Jamie Rainford and Ryan Brooke, but he is coming back.  

“I think losing your firepower does take a knock and confidence going into the final third. Fans want to see the team winning but the way we’ve been playing, I think we have been playing well, it was showing against Witton where it clicked a bit and we were able to score four goals.

“Will Saxon had a great opportunity [in the FA Trophy vs Witton] if he sticks that away, I don’t think the fans would say it’s a bad result or performance, there needs to be some understanding that the lads are playing well, it’s just that the goals will come.”

The APEC Taxis plays host to what could be a momentous day in the short history of Linnets, since their reformation. Fans of Runcorn will have memories of their famous days and nights at Canal Side and the current crop of players in the green and yellow have the opportunity to etch their name in history.

Paynter is well aware of the challenge as they host National League North side Chorley. Andy Preece’s side will be looking to avoid a giant-killing as they take on a side two divisions below.

Despite the gulf in league positions, the Linnets boss insists the focus is on their own game and looking to embrace the challenge, against a club that reached the fourth round of the competition as recently as 2021.

“It’s a massive FA Cup tie, we want to do well but we know it’s going to be a tough challenge,” he continued. 

“Chorley are a good footballing team, I always think that we must concentrate on ourselves and how we can hurt Chorley. The way that we have been playing, we will cause a threat and opportunities, it’s just the final piece to the jigsaw.  

“It’s the FA Cup, anything can happen, it’s such a fantastic competition. We’re definitely the underdogs and hopefully we won’t be feeling like we are, I want the players to be brave, embrace the challenge and show their ability. It’s a chance to showcase their abilities on display and a home tie, with the fans we’ve got behind us, they’ll be important to help us along.”

[Featured Image: Tom Paul]

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