Stockport County manager Jim Gannon is hoping Monday night’s FA Cup First Round draw will bring back memories of “the good old days” at Edgeley Park.
The Hatters were grateful to winger Danny Lloyd, as his brace helped them see off a determined challenge from Northern League club Bishop Auckland on Saturday, with a 2-0 win seeing County make it into the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time as a non-league club.
That means that they will go into Monday night’s draw with a chance of hosting the likes of Coventry City, Wimbledon or Portsmouth, all winners of the competition inside the last thirty years.
They could also face a tie against former Premier League clubs Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic, as they look to maintain their progress in the competition.
With all eyes now turning towards the draw Gannon admitted that he wants to see a big name making their way to Edgeley Park on First Round day in November.
He said “It is so heavily weighted against the non-league sides, there will be twenty or twenty five of us pitched in with fifty-odd league clubs vying for a small amount of places in the third round.
“We will have a challenging game no matter whether it is at home or away.
“Everybody dreams of getting a big name at home and having the TV here to get a massive financial boost.
“But whatever game it is, whether it’s a team at the lower end and you have a chance of progressing to the second round, or whether it’s a club that puts it up to you on the day, from my perspective I would love to see a big league club here at Edgeley Park.
“Just like in the good old days”
Despite the relatively comfortable look of the 2-0 scoreline, Gannon’s side were pushed all of the way by their step five opponents.
After taking the lead just after the half hour mark thanks to Danny Lloyd’s first goal of the day, County were grateful for the alert goalkeeping of Ben Hinchliffe as he rushed from his line to block an effort from Bishops’ striker Andrew Johnson.
The Two-Blues hitman had been played in on goal by strike partner Ian Ward, and managed to get a shot away but it could only hit the chest of Hatters number one Hinchliffe.
That save was rewarded in the best possible way as the Hatters doubled their lead just two minutes later with a fine finish from Lloyd.
The second half saw the visitors have plenty of possession, without really troubling Hinchliffe but Gannon was impressed with what he saw from the County Durham side.
“I thought Bishop Auckland were excellent today” admitted the County boss.
“Everything they do in the league, and the FA Cup, they have done today.
“They play out from the back, they retain the ball, they had their opportunities and they will be disappointed they didn’t take them.
“We did our homework and showed respect.
“They have a flexible system and with (Ian) Ward up front, he is a handful, he does his targetman and link-up play well.
“AJ (Andrew Johnson) had a chance and unfortunately couldn’t take it.
“We had to make sure they didn’t impose themselves too much and then it was about what we could do at the other end.
“We had chances, we could have got a third or fourth but that would have been an injustice to Bishops’ performance”
Although Gannon paid tribute to the efforts put in by the Northern League side, he was rather less convinced by the performance of his own side.
Lloyd’s brace was enough to see off Bishops, although Gannon believes that his side have “much to improve on” in the coming weeks.
“We couldn’t rely on playing great football, we had to rely on individual play from Danny Lloyd.
“He has been a great threat for us in terms of assists and set plays, he scored two great goals and that can be the difference between two teams at different levels”
“I was disappointed and I will probably be hoarse because I was shouting so much.
“We never really got to grips with them, we didn’t manage their movement and there is much to improve on”
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)