Garner eyeing FA Cup run


Ben Garner spoke of his desire to take the Addicks on an Emirates FA Cup run ahead of Saturday’s first-round tie against non-League outfit Coalville Town at The Valley.

The manager guided his Swindon Town side to the third round last term and earned a home tie against Pep Guardiola’s Man City.

“The FA Cup is a wonderful competition,” said Garner. “It will be a huge tie for Coalville playing a team in a much higher division and that’s what we want to do in this competition. We hope Coalville - their players, staff and fans - enjoy their day but, ultimately, we obviously want to win the game and make sure we progress through to the next round.

“My aim is to get through to round three and hopefully get a great draw in that round or in future rounds of the competition to give the fans a wonderful occasion. That’s our target – to progress as far as we can.”

Coalville, who currently sit fifth in the Southern Central Premier League, travel to SE7 on the back of a remarkable run to the first round proper.

Adam Stevens’ Ravens stunned National League leaders Notts County in the fourth and final round of qualifying, claiming a 3-2 win at Meadow Lane in front of almost 1,400 travelling fans.

“I watched Coalville’s game against Notts County again yesterday and they had a great following and a good atmosphere from their away supporters,” the gaffer said. “They are a really well-organised team and I have to give them massive credit. Their defensive organisation in that game was excellent, it really was. They counter-attacked really well against Notts County and to score three goals against a team that’s top of the National League takes some doing.

“We’ll be full of respect for them and we certainly won’t take them lightly on the back of what I’ve seen. We’ve prepared well and, ultimately, we want to focus on us putting in a good performance to make sure we get through to round two.”  

Offering an update on the availability of his squad going into Saturday’s tie, Garner said: “We’re a little bit limited to be honest because we’ve actually got five unavailable this week through illness and injury, plus Ryan [Inniss] with the suspension.

“Pretty much everyone else will be involved to be honest. There’s no one that won’t be in the squad and we’re going to have to use a lot of the academy players this week. Of course, we can still get a strong team on the pitch and look to progress, but there’s not too many decisions for me to make in terms of squad. It’s all hands to the pump Saturday and it will be on Tuesday at Stevenage as well.”

Coalville centre-back and lifelong Addick Jake Eggleton is set to feature at The Valley on Saturday in what will be a special moment for the 24-year-old.

“It’s a fantastic story and this is why, for me, the FA Cup is the greatest cup competition in the world,” Garner said. “Nowhere else do you get these types of stories and the romanticism of the cup is so special.” 

Click here to get your tickets for Saturday’s cup clash.

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