Robins stresses Town must be at their best at Grimsby
Mark Robins knows his side will need to be on top of its game to emerge victorious from Saturday’s FA Cup with Budweiser tie at Grimsby.
With the January transfer window now open the speculation has already begun in earnest, but Town’s Manager has one single focus going into the weekend.
“At the moment all I am doing is preparing the team for tomorrow’s game, which is going to be a tough one,” Mark told htafc.com.
“Grimsby are a capable team with some good players, playing with some freedom and confidence. I imagine there will be close to a full house there tomorrow and a lot of interest around the game. They will provide us with a stern challenge, there’s no doubt about that.”
Mark has watched the Mariners in person ahead of the tie and knows The Skrill Premier promotion-chasers are a very capable team.
“We’ve done as much preparation as we can to understand how they play. They like to play football on the ground and play out from the back.
“I played with their Manager, Paul Hurst, at Rotherham; he is a great lad and was a good player; he was outstanding at defending the back post against players twice his size. He was the record appearance holder there and I gave him that final appearance, as I inherited Paul when I became Manager there. He has great enthusiasm.
“He went into management with Rob Scott and did very well at lower levels before getting their chance at Grimsby, but now he’s on his own in slightly different circumstances. By all accounts the Club is developing in the right direction and should he be given the time that managers need, I’m sure they will be back in the League at the earliest opportunity. That could be this season, although possibly via the Play-Offs as only one team goes up automatically.
“The FA Cup is brilliant and I don’t think anyone would decry this competition up and down the country. The romance of the Cup is that there is always a chance on any given day that a team from a lower league can beat a team from a higher one and we have to make sure we go there professionally and do the job that is required. They already have two League scalps in Northampton and Scunthorpe and if we’re not on our mettle, they’ll look to take our scalp as well.
“Whatever it takes, we want to be in the hat after the final whistle goes. We’re looking forward to the game. We know what the FA Cup is about and what we have to do; we will be professional, go there and do the job properly.”
Robins won the FA Cup as a player at Manchester United, but is looking to make his mark on the competition as a manager with the Terriers.
“As a Manager I’ve had a really mixed bag. I took charge of my first game here last season in this competition against Wigan and they gave us a footballing lesson; it was a tough start. It’s always disappointing when you go out of the FA Cup because it’s such a great competition.
“I won it as a player early on in my career, so I know what that feels like; it was a fantastic time. It’s still exciting when you’re in the hat and it’s important to all the clubs.
“At this stage of the season, because of the amount of games we’ve had over the Christmas period, you hear managers talk about the Cup being a distraction and prioritising by playing a squad game to freshen things up.
“For us, this represents a good opportunity. We’re no different to Grimsby in that this represents a pot of money that is well worthwhile winning – and you also never know who you will get in the next round. There is an opportunity to add to the financial coffers.”
Town will closely monitor the fitness of defender Joel Lynch going into the weekend after a niggle forced him off at Burnley on New Year’s Day, but otherwise Robins is happy with his options:
“We’ll have a look at everyone today and make decisions later on this afternoon after we’ve concluded the preparations. Generally I’m pleased with the health and the recovery of the players, so that gives me an opportunity to field a really strong side tomorrow and try to get into the next round.”
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