Miles Rutherford has urged his players to give “their all” when Chichester City take on Tranmere Rovers in their massive FA Cup second round tie.
Boss Rutherford is part of a double-act with assistant manager Graeme Gee and their words will be the last the City players hear before they take on the League One side at Prenton Park on Sunday in the BT Sport televised game.
Isthmian League Chi will be massive underdogs for the tie but will have many neutrals rooting for them as the lowest ranked team still left in the competition.
Such has been the interest, the club hosted a press conference this week at their Oaklands Park home with four first team players facing the media before the management and coaching staff fielded questions.
The laid-back Rutherford look unruffled as ever and has vowed his message to the players on the day will not significantly change to the one he has been preaching during a run that started in August at the extra preliminary round stage.
Rutherford said: “I always ask for as much hard work as they can give us while Graeme is a bit different and tries to rally them up in a different way.
“But, for me, it is just about giving everything they have got and I just hope they do that on the day.”
Gee admits his rallying call will be off the cuff but is desperate his players give a good account of themselves and do not let the occasion get to them.
Gee said: “I try to say what befits the moment. It’s a big occasion, we all know that and that is why you guys are here, but it is about trying to take the magnitude and emotion out of the game because I do feel we have to go there with some belief.
“The players need to relax as much as they can, which will be very difficult.
“We’ve played in relatively big games, nowhere near this standard, but we played in the FA Vase last 16 and I think we’d all agree the occasion got the better of us and we didn’t perform on the day.
“So on Saturday and Sunday it will be about getting the preparations right.
“I want everyone at this club, the players, coaches and volunteers to enjoy this occasion.
“I am a realist and this will never happen again for me, while Danny and Darin have a few years ahead of them. But this is going to be the biggest occasion for all four of us to date and we have got to embrace it.
“We just want to give a good account of ourselves and some strange things can happen in football – we shall see on the day what we’re about.”
Rutherford added: “You look at the sides that are not in the Cup already. Sunderland are out of it and little, old Chichester are still in it so that’s how much of an achievement it is.
“All four of us know realistically it won’t happen again at this club so we just get on with it and grab the moment.
“All four of us have said on Sunday we shall go there with a smile on our face – which is normally hard for me – but I will be smiling all the way there and all the way back.”
Danny Potter says he and fellow first team coach Darin Killpartrick will try to stick to what has been tried and tested on the run.
Potter said: “I think the message we need to give to the players is that nothing should change.
“No matter who the opposition is, we’re going to play the game how we want to play the game and nothing should change that.”
Things have changed, though, as the players illustrated.
Jamie Horncastle said: “It’s exciting. Where I work, a guy this morning came in and said he’ll be going down the pub and watching the game.
“Normally it’s us going down the pub and watching football – we don’t drink, mind! Now people are going to the pub to watch us.”