Stortford boss ready for Lynn cup tie

PUBLISHED: 08:30 09 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:48 14 September 2010

Bishop's Stortford boss Martin Hayes is backing his Conference South highflyers to handle the pressure against managerless King's Lynn in Saturday's FA Cup first round tie.

Bishop's Stortford boss Martin Hayes is backing his Conference South highflyers to handle the pressure against managerless King's Lynn in Saturday's FA Cup first round tie.

The former Arsenal and Celtic midfielder insists Tommy Taylor's exit and the ensuing fallout is a mere sideshow to the main event at Woodside Park.

“We know about Tommy's situation but that goes out of the window,” said Hayes. “There's a massive incentive for both clubs to get through to the second round. It's a very evenly balanced match for me. I don't think you could say we are clear favourites. King's Lynn is in a similar situation to us and we respect them.

“They are doing well in the league and cups so every week is a big match. King's Lynn will see this as a game they can win and we are the same after managing to avoid a league club.

“Cup football has a habit of throwing up unexpected results - just look at Southend the other night. They'll be 1,200 or 1,300 fans in the ground and it's a big occasion. Players tend to get a bit on edge in these games so I expect whoever copes with the pressure will get through.”

Hayes had Lynn watched in last weekend's dramatic FA Trophy win at Leyton, but the Blues boss is taking nothing for granted.

“You can't read too much into it - teams always have one eye on the cup game,” he said. “We went to Yeading in the league who have Notts Forest so it was a similar situation for us. Some players won't have figured as well or played in different positions on the day.

“I know they like to play football and we are the same - we haven't got any long throw merchants. We've treated the match no differently to a normal league game in terms of our approach.”

Hayes won a League Cup winner's medal and First Division championship with the Gunners in his playing days. The 40-year-old failed to scale similar FA Cup heights.

“We reached two FA Cup quarter-finals but that was almost expected at Arsenal,” he said. “We went out to lower league sides at home on both occasions. I've also been on the end of cup upsets by non league clubs. It's different as a manager because you are never in total control. Players just put their boots on, go out and have a game.”

Hayes admits cup success is a welcome distraction to a concerted push for Conference South promotion.

“The club is trying to get into the Conference and that is a whole new level,” he said. “You are talking full time players, so the chairman would've to sit down and give that some serious thought if we achieve it. At the start of the season we wanted to be in a play-off position and we've got that at present, but the important period is after Christmas.

“I think there's eight or nine teams who are capable of fighting for promotion and we are in the mix.”

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