Gardner 'dreaming' of an FA Cup run with Barking ahead of tie with former club Aveley
PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 August 2019
Barking manager Justin Gardner is dreaming of making a run in the prestigious FA Cup this campaign.
The Blues will take on BetVictor Isthmian North side Aveley at Parkside Stadium on Friday evening in the preliminary round.
And Gardner is hoping to cause an upset against his former club The Millers and progress into the next round.
"It will be a tough game,, but FA Cup is what a lot of football players dream of," Gardner said.
"I think people in non-league football have not taken it serious. When I was a kid I used to always watch the FA Cup, and when I had the opportunity to play in it when I was a player and now to manage in it, is great.
"It's something that when I do finish with football, it will be something I look back at with fond memories because it is a special tournament. I think some players forget that and I hope they know how big it is."
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The boss wants his squad to take inspiration from Haringey Borough who made it to the first round last season before they crashed out to Wimbledon.
"You only have to look at what Haringey Borough did last year and if we could do anything near to that it would be a dream," added Gardner.
The former Billericay Town is looking forward to the occasion and is hoping the 3G pitch can play into his side's favour as they've already lost home advantage.
"Cup game against my old club Aveley, we're looking forward to it, and we'll be the underdogs in that fixture but will hope to come away victorious," he said.
"It's technically meant to be a home game but because our pitch isn't available, it's at Aveley so that is going to give them an advantage. Anything can happen in a cup game, though, as form goes out the window.
"The game on the 3G I think will suit us, but again our first three games couldn't have been much tougher. We had Marlow who made the play-offs last year, Aveley that made it and Ware who finished two points outside.
"That's a tough start, but you have to play them at some point and it's probably to play them early doors as every team gets better."
Barking lost their season opener 3-1 to Marlow at the weekend, with Emmanuel Ighorae on target.