John Dempster warns Mansfield Town’s players not to take National League strugglers Chorley lightly in Saturday’s FA Cup showdown

Mansfield's John Dempster
Mansfield's John Dempster

Mansfield Town boss John Dempster warned his side not to take Chorley lightly as Stags set out on this season’s FA Cup adventure with a home first round tie against the National League strugglers on Saturday.

After a superb October which has seen Dempster nominated for Manager of the Month and Otis Khan for Player of the Month, November started badly with a 3-2 home defeat by Colchester United last weekend.

So Dempster is urging his players to avoid any cup banana skins and make sure they are in the hat for Monday’s draw and back to winning ways.

“The FA Cup has not lost its magic for me and certainly hasn’t for the teams lower down,” he said.

“It can be an unbelievable experience for everyone involved and it can also be financially beneficial to a football club.

“We are going to give it everything to beat Chorley on Saturday.

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“They are a side that are struggling in the league below. They are a big side and very physical.

“We won’t be taking them lightly as, if we do, we’ve seen it in the FA Cup when people talk about potential banana skins - people will be viewing this one as a potential one for us.

“We will have to match them for attitude and application otherwise it will be a tough afternoon. If we can do that we’re confident we can progress to the next round.

“As long as we are not complacent and our attitude is spot on we have a great chance.”

On the visiting Magpies, he added: “I think there is a chance they will come here and sit in.

“I don’t think they’ll be flying out the traps as that could be dangerous for them. But it’s very difficult to say how they’ll play.

“Our efforts will be concentrated on making sure our performance levels are up where they need to be. We need to be cautious of our defensive record, which needs tightening up.

“But we do need to be positive and have people behind us. We might not be 5-0 up in the first 15 minutes so people need to stay with us.”

Dempster knows how important a cup run can be to a successful season after playing against Liverpool in Stags’ title-winning campaign of 2012/13.

“Our tie here against Liverpool are the kind of rewards you can get if you’re successful in the early stages of the FA Cup,” he said.

“If you draw a big club it can be so beneficial from not only a financial point of view but also as an experience for everyone involved.

“We had started that campaign very slowly. If it was a book it was a slow start, an average middle, and an exciting and happy ending. But we finished it like a house on fire and were very difficult to stop.

“You hear managers and coaches talk about cup competitions and make excuses about injuries and too much game time.

“But that cup run was definitely a springboard for us, and when you look at other teams that have had cup runs - Lincoln most recently - I think it can add to the excitement, inspire the town and get people together and behind the team.

“A cup run would definitely benefit us in this current campaign. It’s important you maintain belief through the hard times.

“We’ve played 17 games in the league – there are 29 to go, so lots of points to play for and I’m confident we can still be successful.”

He added: “We spoke about the importance of getting a positive result against Colchester as we knew there was a two week break after that.

“Having a two week break after a defeat is not good. But what is a positive is competing in the FA Cup – a competition with unbelievable tradition.

“We are very grateful and in a privileged position to be competing in it.”