Alexander loves ‘the buzz’ of the FA Cup, but expecting tough test at Cobblers

Scunthorpe United mamager Graham Alexander
Scunthorpe United mamager Graham Alexander

Scunthorpe United boss Graham Alexander is excited by ‘the buzz’ of the FA Cup, but knows his team is in for a tough game against the Cobblers at Sixfields on Saturday (ko 3pm).

The clash between Town and the Iron is the only all-Sky Bet League One tie in the first round draw, and is probably a match neither manager would have chosen to take on as they look to progress in the competition.

Alexander is expecting a tight encounter, and says he knows the Cobblers ‘won’t disappoint’ him on that score, but insists it is a clash he and everybody at Glanford Park is looking foward to.

“When you go to any opponent in the same division, it’s going to be a tough game, and I’m sure Northampton won’t disappoint us in that aspect,” said the Scunthorpe boss.

“It’s another match for us to win in a different competition and we want to continue our run of form.

“We’re looking forward to it and I still think there is a buzz about the FA Cup, and that goes throughout the whole club – players, staff and supporters.

“It’s a big competition so we want to do well in it, but we can only take one game at a time, starting with Northampton on Saturday.”

A former Scotland international, Alexander never tasted FA Cup glory as a player, and he would love his team to make an impact this season.

“Anyone who has a love for English football knows the history of the FA Cup, and that’s where the beauty of it is,” said Alexander.

“It’s littered with great stories, giant killings and unexpected cup wins.

“As a player, staff member and a supporter, you want to be a part of that at some stage in the history of the FA Cup.

“It’s always exciting to be in a cup draw and there’s always magic around the unknown.”

So will he be approaching Saturday’s trip to Sixfields any differently than he would a league encounter?

“We approach every game the same way. We don’t even talk about what competition it is,” Alexander told scunthorpe-united.co.uk

“We just see it as an opponent to beat.

“We don’t differentiate from our planning, so everything is the same. We look for the same sort of performances that win games.

“It’s important we stick to that and winning games in any competition creates momentum.

“We want to get on a good run of form and I feel we’re in that. In the last couple of league games we’ve got the results we deserved.”

Scunthorpe’s trip south to take on the Cobblers will be the first of two to Sixfields in the space of a fortnight, with the teams meeting again in league one on November 18.

Alexander understands that it is going to be a big ask for his club’s supporters to make two lengthy away trips in quick succession, but has urged them to back the team in numbers this weekend.

“It’s a real tough commitment financially and time-wise, but it’s brilliant what the fans do to come and support us,” said the former Preston and Burnley player.

“We would love them to be there both times.

“We need them with us and they always have an impact on our performance when they get behind us. We love seeing them and trying to get a performance for them.”