MANAGER Darren Ferguson has urged his Doncaster Rovers squad to retain high standards during today’s potential FA Cup banana skin at National League side Ebbsfleet United.
Forty-five places separate the teams in the football pyramid ahead of the first-round encounter at Ebbsfleet’s Stonebridge Road ground.
Rovers, 18th in League One, last lost to a non-league side in the cup 14 years ago when Scarborough Town knocked them out at the first hurdle. Since then, their record has been much improved with nine runs to the third round or further in the last 12 years.
Ferguson believes getting on the front foot early will be crucial against the largely semi-professional hosts.
Ebbsleet, the club famously taken over by the MyFootballClub enterprise in 2007, sit 13th in the National League having drawn ten of 18 games this season.
“It will be a typical cup tie,” said Ferguson, who will be without defender Joe Wright due to a hamstring injury. “They will be right up for it and I’ll remind the players before the game that there will be shocks across the weekend; we have to make sure we aren’t one of them.
“In these sort of games you have to get control early and set the tone; if we can score early then that will be massive.
“As soon as the draw was made we knew it wouldn’t be an easy game. It will be tough for us, but we have to play our own game.
“The opening round of the FA Cup is always big for any club and we don’t want to be one of the sides on the wrong end of an upset. We will go there and make sure we go about our business in the right way and get the win. Our preparation won’t change.”