Sunderland RCA manager Martin Swales is calling on football fans to snub England and armchair comfort – and instead come out to support his side’s FA Vase bid.
RCA host Runcorn Linnets tonight at Meadow Park (7.45pm) in a second round replay.
The Northern League side just failed to get the job done in the first fixture at the weekend, drawing 1-1 with their North West Counties League opponents after extra time.
The winners of tonight’s tie will host fellow Northern League side Marske United, who are one of the favourites for the competition after dumping Shildon out of the Vase on Saturday.
Swales said: “Runcorn have done well this season. They are a big, strong side and score a lot of goals. It will be a tough game and they are dangerous.
“That said, we should have been out of sight in the first half on Saturday. We missed two or three good chances.
“The referee got a little bit overawed by the occasion as well and was poor – though he was the same for both sides.
“I’m confident we can get the win tonight. When we get them here and they see the Meadow Park bank, it might knock them a bit. They won’t be used to it.
“Then, if we can get a decent crowd it would be great for us, and they will bring a few fans over as well.
“England are playing Brazil but it’s just a friendly so I hope the Wearside public turn out and support us.”
Swales goes into the game without five big players – goalkeeper Neil Bussey, influential player-coach Colin Larkin, captain Greg Swansbury, and hamstring victims Michael Charlton and Jonny Davis are all missing.
The biggest threat to their progress, Swales says, however, is complacency.
“I’m conscious that we don’t think the job is done, that we don’t think we’ve done the hard work by getting a draw down there and bringing them back up here,” he said.
“We need to be in the right frame of mind.”
RCA have fallen at the fifth round in the last two seasons, and Swales has targeted creating a little bit of club history this campaign by reaching at least the quarter-finals – if not further.
“We just haven’t been able to get over that fifth round hurdle,” he said. “We’ve been beaten in extra time both times, 3-2.
“We want to kick on and get that little bit further.”