Loizou urges Haringey to believe against Dons
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
The Bostik Premier club will hope to cause an upset in front of the TV cameras on Friday night
Tom Loizou can feel the magic of the FA Cup ahead of Friday night’s first round tie between his Haringey Borough and AFC Wimbledon and he wants his players to start believing.
League One Dons are four divisions above the Bostik Premier hosts and last season the margin would have been five with the Coles Park club only winning promotion in May.
It has been a remarkable year for Borough with a crowd of 1,133 present in December 2017 for a FA Trophy tie at home to Leyton Orient, but Friday will top the lot.
Loizou is already dreaming of a big upset live on BBC Two and wants his squad to feel the same against a Dons team in the relegation zone.
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“Everyone is looking forward to the game,” said Borough’s long-serving manager, now in his 11th campaign at the club.
“All the players have been looking forward to the tie for two weeks and whatever happens, I feel like we have already achieved this season win, lose or draw.
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“If the win comes? Oh my god, we would have pushed the barriers well over and gone past all expectations.
“No one actually expects us to beat them, they are four levels above us, but there is always a chance.
“I need to push that belief over to the players now because I do honestly believe we can get a result against this lot.”
Borough will be without forward Femi Akinwande due to suspension, after a recent red card in the FA Trophy loss to Chesham United, but should have a fully fit squad to pick from otherwise.
Loizou has done his homework on Neal Ardley’s team and knows it will be a difficult night for his non-league side, but is aware most will be hoping to see a shock.
Haringey will be up against a club formed from the ashes of Wimbledon FC in 2002 with the original Dons FA Cup winners during their time in shock circumstances in 1988.
Now, 30 years later, this Wombles team will be out to avoid being on the receiving end of a huge upset in the 7.55pm kick-off at Coles Park.
“We have sold 1,400 tickets and we hope the players will respond to the crowd,” Loizou said.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the players because it will be a big attendance and they are not used to playing in front of so many people where as Wimbledon will be.
“I have done my research on Wimbledon and their players range from 6ft to 6ft 6, so we can’t frighten them much, but expectations will be high, I am sure.”