Widnes boss Dave Dempsey isn’t taking the task of Winsford United lightly as they lock horns in the FA Cup this weekend.
The Whites will be looking to gather momentum for the upcoming campaign when they face the North West Counties Premier Division side on Saturday.
Last season, prior to Dempsey’s arrival, Widnes were well beaten by league rivals Glossop North End. But this time around, Widnes will be looking to put their name in the hat for the next where they will face the winners of Macclesfield and Wythenshawe Town.
“Every team in the FA Cup this week will be in the same boat, the excitement, anticipation of playing, for the Northern Prem sides, the first competitive match,” Dempsey said expressing his excitement ahead of the new season to Off The Park.
“I know the Counties have had a couple of games, the start of the season nerves are there but first and foremost, although Winsford have lost their first two they carry their own threats so we need to get over them emotions and feeling and just get to business. Hopefully we can the result the Widnes fans, players and myself want to see.”
Winsford finished midtable in the North West Counties last season with Widnes finishing outside the top half. And Dempsey is under no illusions but hopes his players aren’t either, he added: “It’s the FA Cup, it’s the old cliche but you watch games on the TV where Premier League sides go to Conference sides and get beaten or get a draw and it’s not as easy as everyone makes out.
“There’s absolutely no difference down the pyramid and if anything the gulf in quality becomes less and less in terms of difference in leagues. Like I’ve said in past interviews and I’ll be saying it to the players, forget the start of the league season and forget the form table, Winsford are in the FA Cup against a team above them, they will do everything in their power to make it difficult.
“It’s at their place, we’re not in our home pitch, it’ll be open, harder to play on and we’ll come up against a hardworking side so for us to go there and take the result for granted and for people to think it’s a given, I’m sorry people will need to take a look at themselves it’ll be a tough game.”
But for the Widnes boss, he hopes their seal their place in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, irrespective of how they perform, he said: “To win is one thing but to win and play well and get a result is the bigger thing.
“We obviously want to go to Winsford and perform, do the things we’re good at, keep that high tempo but I think we need to go there and perform, as we have done in the last three pre-season friendlies. We need to go there, get a result and get ourselves in the hat – it would be brilliant.
“If we don’t play well, it’s just about getting in the hat for the next round. That in itself will instil confidence and we can go into the league knowing we’ve got a decent tie away at Macclesfield if not them it’ll be Wythenshawe Town which will be a tough too. The players want to go and perform but if we can get ourselves in the next draw that’s the most important thing.”