Anthony Johnson insists Salford City are “under no illusions” about tomorrow night’s FA Cup match with Hartlepool United.
He is confident if Salford maintain their cup form they can cause another upset but if they don’t, fears they could get “smashed”.
Johnson manages the Evo Stik Northern Premier League team alongside Bernard Morley and the duo have done a stunning job.
Salford are firmly in the hunt for back-to-back promotions and have their sights on getting into National League North.
But it is the FA Cup where they have earned fame and fortune after knocking out Notts County in their debut in the first round proper, last month.
“The players have been different class in the cup,” Johnson said.
“I think I’m right in saying we’ve only condeded two goals in six games.
“We’ve done well in the FA Cup, but we are under no illusions [about tomorrow night].
“We are playing a team from League Two and if we’re not at it then we’ll get absolutely smashed.
“But, if we prepare 100 per cent right, and we perform to the sort of level we did against Notts County then we can get something.”
Johnson, who led Salford to promotion last season, says he has been impressed by what he has seen of Pools.
“We’ve had loads of reports on Hartlepool,” said Johnson.
“We watched them on TV the other Sunday against Leyton Orient and we’ve had DVDs of the games against Mansfield and Oxford.
“They’ve had a really tough run of games against the top teams in League Two and I don’t think they’ve had the results they probably deserved.
“I thought they were really unlucky against Oxford.
“I’m not just saying this because I’m talking to the Hartlepool Mail but I think Ronnie Moore has a good side.
“We are under no illusions.”
Like Pools, Johnson and Morley’s side warmed up for their FA Cup tie in less-than-happy circumstances.
Salford suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat at Grantham last Saturday though it not do them any great harm – they are only three points behind leaders Nantwich and have three games in hand.
Johnson pulled no punches about City’s display and believes the side will react in the right manner.
“That’s what we’ve done before,” he explained. “When we lost before we went nine unbeaten.
“Saturday was dreadful, credit goes to Granthamn who played the elements better than we did.
“May be it might turn out to be a good thing and a few feet will come back on the ground and the lads will stop thinking they are better than they are!
“I think a few eyes might have been on Friday night.
“This is a cup final for us and I think the players can be forgiven for having their minds on the Hartlepool match.
“The boys are, like me, working lads and this night is massive.”
Johnson had been worried that he might be banned from the touchline after being sent off at Grantham after a row with the referee.
But he said that he will be in the dug-out at Moor Lane.
“At our level, stuff tends to come through later than at league level,” he said. “We’ll be appealing it anyway and will hopefully get it overturned.
“To be honest, I’ve had a bit of a chequered past, but on this occasion I can say I did nothing wrong.”