Mansfield Town wing back Mal Benning believes he is part of the best squad of his career and they have every chance of FA Cup progress this Sunday when League One giants Charlton Athletic visit in a first round showdown (12.45pm).
The Stags are now 11 games unbeaten and Benning believes that Stags can get past the Addicks if they can match the pace at which the visitors play.
Benning is a huge fan of the competition, and said: “It’s a very, very big cup to be involved in. Obviously I’ve watched it growing up as a kid and if you get to the later rounds, you get to play some big clubs.
“Last season was probably my best season in it so far – we were one game away from playing Manchester City. So hopefully this year we can go a step further.
“Drawing a big name is a big carrot, but as a sportsman you just want to win every game and get as far as you can.”
He added: “Charlton are high up in the League One table, so we are expecting a tough match. They are a very big club.
“But I am sure if we are on it on the day, we can get through to the next round.
“I don’t think there is that much difference between the League One and League Two standards really, just the tempo and playing the ball on the floor.
“After playing in League Two on loan from Walsall for a while, when I went back to League One I found it a faster tempo.
“But I think our squad is very good and I think we can match a League One side here.
“It will be a footballing game – I don’t think there will be much hustle and bustle.”
Benning believes Mansfield have every chance of success this season, saying: “I think this is probably the best squad I’ve been involved in.
“The squad in my last year at Walsall was one of the best. But in my four years at Mansfield this is the best team and best squad and some of the football we’ve played this season portrays that.
“We have quality in every department and great competition for places.”
He also believes boss David Flitcroft’s methodology of concentrating more on his own side than worrying about the opposition is the right way to go about things.
“We focus on ourselves much more than focusing on the opposition, which I think is much better,” he said.
“If we focus on ourselves more then we know what we are good at and we can put that into games.
“The gaffer, Futch (assistant boss Ben Futcher) and the training staff will know all about Charlton.
“But on the training ground it will be more about us and how we can exploit their certain weaknesses.
“It won’t be worrying about them, it will be about us being good on the ball and being good on the day.”
After four of the last five games being away from home, last night’s 2-1 home win over Grimsby was the start of four successive home games.
“It has been tough with all these away games with all the stop-overs and Tuesday nights, though preparation has been top class,” said Benning.
“But I love playing at home and hopefully we can now give the home fans some good results.”