Looking ahead to Saturday's Emirates FA Cup First Round match against Peterborough United, Mark Sampson says it a challenge that excites the whole squad...
Cup fever always adds some much-needed extra heat around this time of year and it is Darren Ferguson’s in-form Peterborough United team that stand in Stevenage's way of a Second Round berth.
Boro fans will remember electric atmospheres in the past and cup upsets against Premier League teams, such as the famous 3-1 win against Newcastle in 2011 and earning a replay back to White Hart Lane against Tottenham in 2012.
Sampson knows that the fans and squad will be more than ready to create a hostile environment for the visiting players and fans.
“Players are always raring to go, especially that it is FA Cup weekend. What a fantastic time to be involved with the Football Club. The Cup is such a special competition, all the players have got their own memories, all the staff have got their own memories and our supporters have got many special memories of this Club in this competition. We are excited to get this journey started.
“Obviously, it is a huge challenge against an excellent Peterborough team, but we are at home, it is a FA Cup tie and the players just cannot wait for the whistle tomorrow.”
He added, “I have heard Peterborough are bringing a few fans down. I am sure that our supporters will see that as a challenge, they will not be out sung in our ground I can assure you of that. So, we are excited to see our fans tomorrow, we have really picked up at home now with the three wins on the spin.”
The task ahead comes in the shape of the highest scoring team in the four major leagues in England with the likes Mo Eisa, Ivan Toney and Marcus Maddison creating a formidable partnership up-front.
Ferguson is on course for a third promotion to the Championship with Posh as they currently occupy 3rd spot in League One, five points behind a team that Stevenage have already beaten away from home this season in Wycombe Wanderers.
Sampson believes any team that comes to The Lamex Stadium this season will face a tough task in coming away with a win.
“Although it will be a difficult game because we know Peterborough are an excellent team with some fantastic players, they would have looked at this draw and think it is a real tough draw for them. To come to our ground, the type of atmosphere we can make, the size of the pitch, the way in which our team is improving and playing now - they will really feel that this is a banana skin for them, and we are really excited to get started and create that type Cup feeling that we need.
“We need to be aggressive, we need to on the front foot, we need to forget that we are playing a team that are in the division above and we need to play a game that we go and win I want to start well and of course we need the supporters on side. I want to make this another special FA Cup afternoon for Stevenage.
“We were hugely excited when we saw the draw, a team that are probably one of the best teams that we could have got. But more importantly for me, a home tie. That’s all I wanted. Get us at home and I will always back us.”
The Interim Head Coach says that the performances his side are putting in has warranted more points and that the improvement within the squad is clear to see.
“The players really feel that when we are creating the amounts of chances we are creating and we are defending as well as we are, it is only a matter of time before things go in our favour. That is how we generally feel. We have got to keep working hard and there is a lot of good things happening.
“The important thing is, we are looking like a team that can keep clean sheets and we are a real competitive team physically and mentally. We look like we are creating chances and there will come a time where them chances go in, and this team will go on a fantastic run. I fully believe that.”
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