Dons will take 'fabulous' FA Cup seriously

FA Cup
FA Cup

There is still something special about the FA Cup for Paul Tisdale as he prepares for MK Dons' first round clash with Grimsby Town on Saturday.

After watching Alan Sunderland's last minute winner for Arsenal against Manchester United in 1979, a six-year-old Tisdale remembers trying to replicate his celebration up the touchline in the garden with his dad - his first FA Cup memory.

Now as a manger, Tisdale will oversee his side taking on League 2 rivals Grimsby, and though it's a tie that lacks glitz and glamour, it still offers a unique opportunity to progress.

"It's a fabulous competition that I am taking very seriously," he said. "Purely objectively, there's the chance to continue the form we're in, but there's also prize money at stake which is not to be sniffed at. And it's a credible, entertaining and exciting competition.

"We don't really prepare any differently – we still talk about the same strategy and opposition, but it feels different because it's the FA Cup. It's winner takes all, it's different. How that will impact on the game I don't know, but I know it will be a game we really want to win.

"We'd be professional against who we draw. We know we've played Grimsby once already this year, but they will know us too. It will be an opportunity, not to go out and enjoy ourselves because that makes it sound like I'm not going to take it seriously, but there will be a different feel for the game."

Dons and Grimsby meet for the second time this season on Saturday. Dons make the trip to Blundell Park for the first time in more than 10 years this weekend, having drawn 1-1 at Stadium MK earlier this season, with Robbie Simpson cancelling out Jordan Cook’s opener.

Paul Tisdale’s side head into the clash with just three defeats to their name so far this season - losing to League 2 leaders Lincoln City, League 1 play-off contenders Luton Town in the Checkatrade Trophy and Premier League Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup.

Grimsby though have had a tough time since their trip to Milton Keynes, losing 10 of their 15 games in all competitions and are currently in a three-game losing streak, going down 2-1 at Mansfield Town on Tuesday night. They now sit 21st in the League 2 table.

Dons have the edge over Grimsby at Blundell Park over the years as well - triumphing on both of their previous meetings.