Gloucester City boss urges fans to spurn England for FA Cup clash
FORGET about England's meaningless friendly, turn-off your TV and watch some 'proper football' in the FA Cup first round.
That is the plea from Gloucester City boss Dave Mehew to the people of the city ahead of tonight's rescheduled FA Cup clash against Leyton Orient (7.45pm).
The game was originally scheduled to be played in front of a bumper Whaddon Road crowd last Sunday, before the weather and a waterlogged pitch intervened.
And while tonight's tie clashes with a scratch England side playing an international friendly in Sweden, Mehew is hoping the football fans of Gloucestershire still flock to enjoy the romance of the FA Cup.
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"All the ingredients that were there in the first game will be there again tonight," Mehew said.
"It's still an FA Cup first-round tie with a non-League club playing against one from the League.
"We have absolutely nothing to lose and it will be a proper game of football in one of the great Cup competitions.
"I am convinced that England against Sweden will be boring in comparison, so I would urge people to forget about the TV and come and watch our game.
"If the people of Gloucester and the area are going to come to just one of our games this season, then make sure it's this one.
"The support can help us make a difference not only tonight but for the rest of the season as well, as clubs like ours need these kind of occasions to highlight what they are about.
"If we can pull off a shock result it will be a fantastic story for our club and it will be a fantastic story for the FA Cup as well.
"It has helped put our club back in the spotlight and we deserve that given all that has happened in the last few years."
City's semi-professional players will prepare for the game like any other midweek clash – with a long and arduous day at work.
Mehew was also be heading to work this morning, but not before ensuring that he completes one lucky pre-match ritual – the vacuuming.
Cursed by superstition, Mehew was forced into doing some housework by wife Louise on the morning of the club's second qualifying round tie with Thatcham Town, and a tradition was born.
"My wife was a little bit ill on the morning of the Thatcham game and asked me to run the Hoover around," Mehew said.
"As I was doing it I thought that if we won I would have to do it every game, which wasn't the greatest thought to be honest.
"So I have done it every round since and will be doing it again today. Hopefully it will bring us the same result.
"It will be like any other game for all of the lads. Most of them will be working until 5pm and then they can put their football heads on.
"Orient wanted the game played on Tuesday because they have to go to Carlisle on Saturday and were worried about the travelling.
"Well my lads are going to be at work on Wednesday and then up at the crack of dawn on Thursday and Friday for the day jobs, and we're not going to feel hard done by.
"But we'll still have a spring in our step and get on with the game as that's what we have to do every week."
Defenders Mike Green (calf) and Chris Holland (illness) were set to have fitness tests at training last night as both bid to play in City's first FA Cup first round clash for 23 years.
Fellow defender Jordan Tillson will also be available to Mehew for the final time – the 19-year-old will return to parent club Exeter City after the game after completing a three-month loan stint.
â Tickets for all areas of the ground will be available for the turnstiles ahead of the game, with fans asked to get to the ground early to avoid any queues.
Tickets cost £15 for adults, £6 for concessions and free for children under 11. Ticket holders will receive a £2 off voucher for Sunday's home game with Chester FC.