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Collins on City's FA Cup challenge

By Ian Appleyard | 9th November 2018

Manager Sam Collins wants City to rise to the challenge of Saturday's Emirates FA Cup first round tie against Swindon Town (kick-off 3pm).

His players have an opportunity to test themselves against League Two opposition and Collins is looking forward to pitting his wits against Swindon's highly-experienced manager Phil Brown.

Collins played under Brown for 15 months at Hull City in the Championship and has a 'lot of respect' for the 59-year-old who also worked under Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers and managed Derby County, Preston North End, and Southend United.

"It's going to be tough, it's not going to be easy but myself and (assistant-manager) Stuart Parnaby have watched them 2-3 times and we think there are areas we can exploit," he said.

"Swindon are under a little bit of pressure as well - so we have to use these things to our advantage," he said. "I know we have a team that can cause them problems."

On his admiration for rival manager Brown, Collins said: "Phil has managed in the Premier League with Hull and, when I played under him, in the Championship.

"I learned a lot watching him coach. He's a really good coach and I can promise you that he will be working with his players every day to make them improve. He always speaks to his players about the mental side of the game and this is a mentally tough game for them on Saturday because they are expected to win.

"They are expected to do to us what we did to St Ives and Ashton Athletic (in the qualifying rounds) - but we would like to think we can cause them problems. I don't mean to be disrespectful but I don't want my players going there in fear or thinking 'Oh God, we are going to Swindon in League Two' because we are going there to have a right go.

"The key thing for me is making sure we are hard to beat and don't give cheap goals away. We will have to do that on Saturday against better quality players, technically better players, and it's going to be a hard game because they have two or three in there who have played at a higher level.

"It's a big stadium too. Some of the lads have experienced that before over their careers but, from my point of view, there are no excuses.

"I don't care if I have got a team of lads who have never played at that level before. We want to make sure we go over there and put on a really good performance.

"I want a team that represents me," he reflected. "We are not here to be mid-table in Conference North. No way, I will pack my bags and go home now now (if that's the case). That's not what I want 

"I want to put a team together that everyone enjoys coming to watch because - win, lose, or draw - they are going to give absolutely everything they have got.

"I want to go there and take on a manager that I have a lot of respect for. I want to get the better of him - in terms of the way that I set my team up. There's the financial side of it for the club. It's worth quite a lot of money and that might help at some stage in terms of strengthening the group.

"I want players that have got that mentality to go to Swindon and not fear them. We can go to Ashton, Nuneaton, Southport, Curzon Ashton and that fear factor is not there. Well it's still the same sized pitch, it still has the same lines. There might be a few more thousand fans there than normal. If you can't deal with that, you are no good to me. I want players that can play in a hostile crowd. We want players that have got that mental toughness."

Collins, meanwhile, confirmed that the club has been chasing a number of potential transfer targets this week but, as yet, nothing has been finalised.

His biggest concern ahead of the game is in the centre of defence - with captain Joe Tait starting a three game ban and defender Daniel Parslow (knee) not guaranteed to be available. Midfielder Simon Heslop is also ruled out for two months after knee surgery last weekend.

Watch the full interview with Sam Collins by clicking the link below:

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