FLEETWOOD Town chairman Andy Pilley has begun preparations for the FA Cup tie he is billing “the match of the century for the Fylde coast.
Town will explore the possibility of installing temporary seating to boost the gate beyond the club’s current capacity of 5,600 for the third-round tie against Blackpool.
The eagerly awaited contest have been provisionally set for 3pm on Saturday, January 7, though that could change if there is late interest from TV.
With just over three weeks to the match itself, there’s plenty for chairman Pilley to ponder, but he still found time to reflect on his club’s achievement on reaching the third round for the very first time after defeating League One clubs Wycombe and Yeovil.
Pilley said: “It feels surreal, and if anyone says the FA Cup is not magical they are surely wrong because this is a fairytale come true for everyone connected with Fleetwood Town. It’s not the game of the decade for the Fylde coast - it’s the game of the century.
“I’m incredibly proud – of the players, of the supporters and of the whole club. To get through to play Blackpool with an ex-Blackpool captain as our manager and with myself as a Blackpool supporter for decades, it’s a dream and a great giantkilling opportunity.”
As for the possibility of more TV exposure for Town, after both games against Yeovil were broakcast live on ESPN, Pilley added: “We can’t complain if we aren’t on again, but I think there may be a few people kicking themselves if this game is not shown.”
As for the performance at Huish Park, which set up this thrilling derby tie, Pilley said: “The performance was exceptional, and if anyone had not known which the league team was, I think they would have interpreted that it was ourselves.
“It was a superb performance and the manager got it bang on in terms of tactics and selection. We made the most of the pace we have and to a man the team was outstanding.
“Credit to Yeovil, but I thought that on the night we were incredible.
“We passed the ball really well and I thought we were very worthy winners and worthy of progressing to round three.”
Pilley is well aware that Town have four vital Blue Square Bet Premier games before the FA Cup tie, starting with Saturday’s visit to Newport and including a trip to Hayes and Yeading next Tuesday (that match has been rescheduled for its original date after being switched to next month).
Pilley added: “We can’t take our eye off the league and our No.1 priority is promotion to the Football League.
“The league is our bread and butter, which we have to concentrate on but we have to plan and organise for a game as big as this.”
And as for the ultimate question about the FA Cup tie – can Town win – the chairman is typically unequivocal: “Of course we can – it’s the FA Cup and we have beaten two Football League teams already.”
Indeed, magic can happen in the FA Cup ... as Pilley knows better than most.*TOWN’S home match against Tamworth will now be played on Tuesday, January 31.