Richards admits Harrow FA Cup clash is step into the unknown for Cobblers
Skipper Marc Richards accepts the Cobblers will be facing an unknown quantity when they line up against Harrow Borough at Sixfields on Saturday (KO 3pm).
The Ryman League Premier Division side provide the opposition for the FA Cup first round tie, and although Richards admits he doesn’t know anything about any of their players, he is treating them with total respect.
It’s quite often the case with non-League teams that they include a smattering of ex-full-time professionals in their ranks, but that isn’t the case with Harrow.
Richards has tried to do a bit of research on Saturday’s opponents, and although he didn’t learn too much, he is promising he and his Town team-mates will be treating this game just like any other.
“You look through their squad, and I have looked through it, and sometimes you might pick up on a couple of players you have played in the league, or that you might recognise the names of,” said Richards.
“But to be honest I don’t recognise the names of any of their players, and that is no disrespect to them.
“They are obviously doing well to get to this stage of the competition, so we will be taking the match seriously, we have to.
“It is a good opportunity for us to go and put on a performance like we know we should, and to be solid and get a clean sheet.”
And he added: “This is a big game for the Harrow players to come here and try and put on a performance.
“They are going to come here to try and impress, and potentially try and get a contract in the League somewhere, so it is going to be a tough test for us.
“Their players will take every advantage of the facilities we have got, the pitch will be nice, and we will try and pass the ball around and do things right.”
Richards knows only too well what it feels like to be on the wrong end of an FA Cup giant-killing, as he was part of the Port Vale team beaten 1-0 by Chasetown in a second round replay back in 2007.
“I have been in this position before of being knocked out of the FA Cup by a non-League team,” said the Cobblers captain. “So this is not something I will be taking lightly.”
Rihards was also part of the Chesterfield team pushed all the way before seeing off Daventry Town 2-0 back in 2013, and he added: “When we played Daventry I remember the first half being really tough, and Daventry played really well.
“They had (former Cobblers defender) Liam Dolman at the back and he did really well.
“He is a big lad, but he got around and he got stuck in, and it shows there are players at that level that are hungry to succeed still.
“We are going to have to be at it.
“You don’t want to be knocked out of the Cup by a non-League team, and I am sure the manager will be banging on about how important this game is to us, and rightly so. It is a chance for us to get into the second round.”
The fact it is an FA Cup tie also adds something special into the mix for Richards, who added: “This is another good game for the lads to be a part of and be involved in.
“Harrow have done well to get to this stage, so we are not going to take it lightly at all.
“It is an opportunity for the lads to go out and express themselves and as it is the FA Cup it will be a special sort of atmosphere, and will be a lot different to the league games.”
The Cobblers go into the game on the back of successive wins in Sky Bet League One, where things have been going well after a recent blip in form.
And Richards, who will be hoping to keep his place in the starting line-up for the weekend, is looking forward to taking a break from the league campaign.
“It is nice to come away from the pressures of the league,” said the skipper. “We feel like we have done a good job so far, but the job isn’t finished.
“We are going about our business quite quietly, but it is nice to take a step back from the league and then reassess after the cup game.
“So it is a nice breather, but Harrow is a game we will be taking seriously.”