St Albans City prepared to deliver FA Cup upset to Carlisle United

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 November 2016

Sam Merson should recover from a head injury to face Carlisle United. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Sam Merson should recover from a head injury to face Carlisle United. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

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St Albans City manager Ian Allinson has issued a war cry ahead of the club’s huge FA Cup clash with Carlisle United – saying “you never know”.

Louie Theophanous could line-up alongside Junior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEYLouie Theophanous could line-up alongside Junior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

The first round proper tie at Clarence Park against the Sky Bet League Two side is a daunting one on paper.

Carlisle have yet to taste defeat in the league, having won eight and drawn seven of their opening 15 games, and sit in second place.

But City are also in fine form and sit fourth in the National League South.

Monday’s win over London Colney in the Herts Senior Challenge Cup was their sixth on the trot and Allinson knows that, even if a lot of planets have to align, they still have a good chance.

Carlisle beat Stevenage just two weeks ago. Picture: DANNY LOOCarlisle beat Stevenage just two weeks ago. Picture: DANNY LOO

He said: “It’s one of those where you hope that on the day they are not at the level they are week in, week out. You hope they might take their foot off the pedal, they might underestimate what we’ve got.

“And we have to play above where we normally are. That’s going to be a massive ask, expecting them to be below their best and expecting us to be above ours.

“But you never know. You see shocks year in, year out, where an underdog club beats a pro club. We’re going to have a big crowd and if the crowd and the town get behind us, you never know.

“A poor bounce, a referee’s decision, something that might just swing the game our way and make us believe we’re going to do it.

“We’re going into the game believing we’re going to do it and if we’re not good enough, it’s not going to be because we haven’t planned or prepared properly. We’ll give our best and that’s all we can ask.”

He has yet to decide on his line-up admitting he has “two options at the moment”.

One of those could be to give Junior Morias a start having scored four from the bench in the last two league games.

A head injury picked up by Sam Merson on Saturday wasn’t enough to prevent him training this week and the city gaffer could also opt to play all three of Merson, Morias and Louie Theophanous up front.

“I’ll be thinking long and hard about what I want to do,” said Allinson. “We have to get it correct.

“You have to look at what [Carlisle] have done in the last six months. The manager has done a terrific job. You look at the floods last year when their ground, never mind the town, was under water. But they’ve recovered from that, they’ve played games away from Carlisle and they’ve done a fantastic job to go into November still unbeaten.

“We’re under no illusions. It’s going to be a fantastic game but it’s going to be a very hard game if we’re going to progress to the next round.

“We’ll give it a hell of a go and hopefully we can cause an upset. If we don’t we’ll have to stick it back to the league and that’s why it was important we maintained our league form, which we’ve done.”

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