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Watson previews FA Cup tie at Irlam

By Dan Simmonite | 20th September 2019

Manager Steve Watson says he has prepared the same as a league game ahead of City’s opening FA Cup clash against Irlam in the second round qualifying.

City’s North West Counties League opponents play three steps below and have described the game as their biggest in their history with the fixture also televised on BBC Sport.

Speaking to the local media, Watson said: “I know as much about Irlam after getting a couple of match reports and speaking to people in the Manchester area as I would about any other team I haven’t come across.”

“I’m more concerned about the way we set up, we don’t change our game for anyone.”

Tom Allan also returns for the Minstermen after thriving at Farsley Celtic during his month away – playing his part in five wins after a month in West Yorkshire.

And with Steve McNulty still not fully fit, the left-sided centre half could well feature in Watson’s first eleven tomorrow.

Watson explained Allan’s chances: “He’s had a successful loan spell and that was always the plan to get him games which I couldn’t guarantee him.

“He comes back in a different scenario now with Steve McNulty still not fit – so he comes into the equation.

“Me and Micky virtually know what side we will put out, it will be a strong side, but there will be chances for people to come in and get some minutes.”

Along with Allan, Paddy McLaughlin is back fit, scoring a spectacular goal against Darlington on his return from injury, and new signing Kyle McFarlane is joined by young Charlie Jebson-King who are both in contention.

Watson added: “The lads that have just come back have trained all week, so they will be in good nick come the weekend, but Greeny (Kieran Green) and Griff (Kallum Griffiths) won’t be ready.

“Steve McNulty and Dan Maguire are ongoing injuries and we are taking it a week at a time.

“We have been without one of the best goalscorers in the league virtually all season and people have stepped up so we would be foolish to rush these players back for the sake of one game.”

He continued: “We have been unlucky but we have coped, the games that we haven’t won we haven’t lost and the games where we haven’t played so well in we have managed to get something out of – that’s the sign of a good side hopefully.”

Steve concluded by pleading with the small section of supporters about the surge in pyrotechnics at City fixtures: “I am supposed to be focusing on the football but instead I am getting pulled into meetings about off the field matters.

“It’s real, I have seen the letters from the FA, and it’s a shame because without these devices the support has been fantastic.”

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