Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton is taking the FA Cup seriously as he aims to avoid a first round exit this weekend.
Barton was forced to defend his decision to make 11 changes for Town’s Carabao Cup exit at Leicester City in August.
However, there will be no repeat as they prepare for a trip to National League North side Alfreton Town on Sunday.
Barton saw the 17th-placed side’s 1-1 draw with FC United at the end of October in preparation for a match on Sunday which is worth £36,000 to the winners.
He said: “Luckily we didn’t have a game last Tuesday so we popped over to watch them.
“We have young Michael Donohue on loan there (FC United). It was a chance to see him, take in the opposition and the way they play against FC United will be very different to the way they will play against us.
“It will be very wise for them to do so, otherwise it would definitely suit us if they played that way.
“It is cup football, you will have motivated fans and motivated players, who have probably taken a couple of days off work this week.
“It will be a massive occasion for them and our lads have to be mindful that it is a big occasion for us.
“We want a good run in the FA Cup this year; we are taking it seriously because we have to.
“It is a competition that is the lifeblood of clubs like Fleetwood Town.”
Fleetwood have never reached the fourth round of the cup before, having lost to Leicester City, Bristol City and Blackpool in their only third round appearances.
While he has never won the competition Barton still loves the FA Cup.
“The furthest I got was a quarter-final a couple of times,” he said.
“I loved the FA Cup growing up as a kid, I remember the street parties when Everton played Liverpool in 1989.
“I’m old enough and grey haired enough to remember the FA Cup being the thing to win.
“It has changed slightly due to the rise of the Champions League and the Premier League.
“For us old romantics the FA Cup is a phenomenal opportunity for smaller clubs at this stage to play league sides then, for league sides like us as the competition progresses, to test ourselves against the big boys.”
Town will be without Tommy Spurr (knee), Ched Evans (shoulder) is a doubt but Conor McAleny, Dean Marney, James Wallace and Ryan Taylor all trained this week.
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