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Powell: "It would be a nice lift for us as a club to get through."

8 November 2018

Southend United manager Chris Powell says he will treat the Emirates FA Cup with the respect it deserves and will be fielding a strong side against Crawley Town.

Blues will be looking to end a run of four straight defeats at the First Round stage.

And Powell is hoping his side can get back to winning ways when they return to Roots Hall on Saturday afternoon against the Red Devils.

“The FA Cup is always special in many ways, for fans and players alike,” said Powell. “To be honest with you the first port of call when I was watching the draw was a home tie which we got and I’m hopeful that we can perform on the day.

“After two difficult away trips with no return, where we felt we should have got a return from at least one of them, we now have a cup game to concentrate on.

“Every fan I meet in shops, the petrol station and what have you, they tell me we haven’t had a cup run for a long time and we’re overdue.

“I’ve been involved as a player here many moons ago in a cup run, I’ve been involved in cup runs elsewhere as a player and as a manager got to the quarter-finals, and really should have progressed to the semis which would have been amazing.

“It was a welcome distraction from the league and it was welcomed. Initially there’s a bit of interest but it does build round to round and I know what it can do to the Football Club and the squad, but also for the supporters and the Town.

“I think we need it. It would be a nice lift for us as a club to get through. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you get through, just get through.”

Like Blues, not since the 2013/14 season have Crawley progressed further than the First Round.

But Powell won't be taking any chances himself by using the game for some youngsters to play.

“Don’t worry about us blooding players to give them game time - no. We’ll be strong, we have to be.

“We’ll give respect to the competition and respect to Crawley because we have to. I know exactly why people get so interested in the cup, and for me it’s never been devalued no matter what people do with their teams.

“For me I always feel that it’s a chance to generate real interest in the club, and this is a start of hopefully us progressing and doing as well as we can in the competition because I think we need to and I want us to.”

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