St Albans City primed for giant-killing trip to Grimsby Town

Jimmy Gray, St Albans City joint-manager

Jimmy Gray, St Albans City joint-manager - Credit: Archant

St Albans City joint-manager, Jimmy Gray, has a message for Grimsby Town ahead of their huge FA Cup first round tie – underestimate us at your peril.

Saints go into the game with their National League opponents as underdogs but Gray believes his side could surprise a few people.

He said: “It’s a game we go into with no expectations on us. We have got confidence from our recent results and performances and we’ll go there and try and do the business.

“There could be a giant-killing on the cards.

“The very least we want is to bring them back to Clarence Park in a replay and be in the draw for the next round.”

While it may not have been the draw that the Sheffield-born boss wanted, Gray is well aware of the stature of the Mariners.

He added: “Being a Sheffield Wednesday boy and having played for them earlier in my career, I would have preferred Sheffield United away.

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“But Grimsby are a big side, one of the National League’s big hitters. There’ll be a big crowd up there.”

Grimsby were a league club for many years, playing in the top flight for two seasons after the war, and were only relegated to the non-league levels in 2010.

They have made the play-offs in all three of the previous campaigns, and just missed out on a return to the Football League in May, losing 5-3 to Bristol Rovers on penalties.

Blundell Park has a capacity of over 9,000 and the Cleethorpes-based club regularly attracts over 4,000 to games.

Their cup pedigree is also impressive.

They beat West Ham in reaching the fifth round in 1996, eventually losing to Chelsea in a replay.

More recently they defeated Tottenham in the League Cup in 2005 before losing 1-0 to a late Alan Shearer goal at home to Newcastle.

And it is results like that, coupled with City’s recent improved performances, which will give Saints hope they can reach the second round after a 19 years absence.