Cambridge City goalkeeper Joe Welch has been involved in some memorable afternoons in the Emirates FA Cup – and he is hoping to enjoy another one on Saturday (September 30).
The Lilywhites will make the long journey west for a third round qualifying tie against a Hereford side that operate two levels higher in the Vanarama National League North.
City will be the underdogs at Edgar Street, but having been part of squads at the likes of Histon and Bromley that have embarked on extended runs in the famous competition, Welch knows what it takes to get a big result.
The experienced shot stopper said: “Hereford are two leagues above, they’re a massive club and they’ll have a big crowd at the game so in lots of ways there’s no pressure on us.
“But at the same time we still want to cause an upset. It’s helpful to the club financially, it’s helpful to us as a team and players and so we want to make sure we put on a performance.
“The big thing in these type of games is to play the game and not the occasion. I know that’s a cliche, but it’s the best way to approach it.
“We’ll probably have to settle into the game for 20 minutes or so, keep them out and hopefully quieten the crowd – that will be important.
“You don’t want to have regrets in any game, but especially ones like this. We don’t just want to go and make up the numbers.
“They’re obviously the favourites but the minimum we want to do is produce a performance. If that’s good enough to get a replay or even better then that, it would be fantastic.”
At the age of 34, Welch may still have a number of seasons left ahead of him.
Nevertheless, he is acutely aware that big FA Cup games do not come around all of the time.
He added: “It’s always special to play in the FA Cup – all players will tell you that.
“I’m not sure how much longer I’ll play for, but for a few of the older lads in the group, this could end up being the last big FA Cup game because it’s tough to go on the sort of run we’ve been on.
“Hereford is a really good tie for us and it’s a big test, but at this stage that’s what you want.”
City, who thrashed Rugby Town 5-1 in a league match last night, travel to Hereford on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Leighton Town in the Isuzu FA Trophy last weekend.
The result represented some revenge for Leighton, who were beaten 6-1 by City in the FA Cup earlier in the season.
Welch said: “It was disappointing because it’s a game we’ve dominated the majority of the possession.
“We conceded two goals from individual errors and if I’m being honest, despite having a lot of the ball we never really looked like scoring.
“We didn’t move the ball quickly enough, our attacking play lacked pace and Leighton were much more organised than they were in the first game.
“I think they had some players back and they reacted well to the 6-1.”
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