Port Vale manager tells players they must take their FA Cup chance against Sunderland
Port Vale manager Neil Aspin has urged his players to embrace their meeting with Sunderland and show they can play at a higher level.
The Valiants, who sit 13th in League Two, will host Jack Ross' side in the FA Cup first round on Sunday afternoon (2:30pm kick-off), which will be shown live on BT Sport 1.
And Aspin, who left National League side Gateshead last year, has challenged his side to grasp the opportunity.
“We know we are going to be in for a test and we are looking forward to it," said Aspin. "I want our players to give a good account of themselves," said Aspin.
“They have to make sure that they give everything out on that pitch so they they have no regrets.”
Aspin has told his players the televised contest is a chance to show they can play at a higher level - against a side who have won their last five games in League One.
“There will be players who play on Sunday and it will be a new experience for them," said Aspin. "They have to handle the occasion but they have to realise that, if you want to play higher, this is what football is about.
“It is about playing against better opposition, playing on a bigger stage, with TV cameras there, it is all about how you handle these occasions.
“We all look at players at the top level and the reason they get there is they can lift their game and adapt to pressure and playing against good opposition.
"We have a few players who no doubt want to play higher, now they have an opportunity to show what they can do.”
Aspin doesn't expect Ross to make many changes for the game, even though Sunderland's main aim is to win promotion to the Championship this campaign.
The Black Cats also face Morecambe in the Checkatrade Trohpy on Tuesday night, but will want to continue their momentum.
“When you have the support that Sunderland have, I don’t think their supporters will accept them not doing everything they can to win games in the FA Cup," added Aspin.
"I feel that they will have a duty to do that and will be treating this game every bit as importantly as a league game.
"I am fully prepared that they will have a very strong team and they will be expecting to beat us.”