MIDDLESBROUGH have been handed a pre-match cup warning by Aldershot manager Dean Holdsworth, whose Shots side are aiming to ‘do a Bradford’ on their own Cup date with destiny at the Riverside today.
The Bantams stunned the football world on Tuesday night by becoming the first club from the bottom tier of the Football League to reach a Wembley final after a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final success over Premier League Aston Villa.
Holdsworth believes Aldershot, whose recent cup pedigree is good, can take heart from the achievements of their League Two counterparts as they go in search of an upset of their own against Boro in the first competitive meeting between the sides.
Holdsworth, who nearly joined Boro as a player before plumping for Bolton Wanderers when he moved for £3.5m from Wimbledon in 1997, said: “Bradford’s performance was a great advertisement for League Two football and full credit to them.
“They can inspire us and it may also worry teams in the Championship that you cannot be complacent against teams in this league.
“This is like our cup final, but it is 11 versus 11 and we have a chance.
“The situations we have been through against West Ham, Wolves and Manchester United in the last two years has stood us in good stead to show we can play good cup football.”
Boro manager Tony Mowbray has ruled out a possible return to the club for former captain Barry Robson, back training at Rockliffe Park after returning from Vancouver Whitecaps less than a season into his three-year deal.
He said: “First and foremost, it’s not something that’s on my mind, it is not something I have even thought about. He made the decision to take his career somewhere else.
“We’re just helping Barry out.
“He contacted me and asked if he could train with us to keep fit. It is a reciprocal thing. He was a good professional when he was here, he trained hard and gave his all in games, so we are happy to help.”
Danny Hylton returns from suspension for Aldershot just in time to fill the void left by fellow striker Dani Lopez, who has returned to parent club Stevenage following a loan spell.
New loan signing from Rotherham United Lionel Ainsworth, a former Huddersfield winger, made his bow as a second-half substitute in midweek and will be pushing for a full debut at the Riverside but fellow newcomer Terrell Forbes is cup-tied.