Eastleigh rubbed shoulders with some famous faces ahead of their Emirates FA Cup trip to Stourbridge and manager Chris Todd didn’t let the opportunity go to waste.
The National League side are 90 minutes away from potentially drawing a Premier League giant in the third round and they got a glimpse of one of them on Wednesday when Liverpool dropped in for a training session.
Jurgen Klopp and his troops borrowed the south coast club’s facilities to freshen up ahead of their clash with Southampton – which saw them run out comprehensive 6-1 winners.
Stourbridge v Eastleigh
Emirates FA Cup
3pm, Saturday 5 December
War Memorial Athletic Ground
Winning clubs will receive £27,000
And while Todd would love a similar outcome for his side on Saturday, he is expecting a stern challenge – though he did admit to picking up one or two tips from former Dortmund boss Klopp.
“I had a good chat with him,” he said. “It was really interesting – everything you see on the TV is him. He is a very happy-go-lucky guy and it was nice to have a chat with him.
“He could easily have said hello and walked off but he didn’t. It was a really good insight and something I didn’t expect to happen.
“They were really pleased with the facilities and it clearly worked out well because they won 6-1. We would love half of that but we would take a 1-0 win on Saturday.
“We know [Stourbridge] have had some good results in this competition and we will not take them lightly. We have done the research because we don’t want to leave anything to chance.
“It has been going well at the moment. We have a squad that is coming together nicely and everybody is champing at the bit and they all want to play every game.”
Their hosts on Saturday, meanwhile, are seeking to prolong an Emirates FA Cup run that began way back in September, taking the Northern Premier League side past the likes of Kidderminster Harriers and Dover Athletic.
Manager Gary Hackett has another upset in his sights this weekend and he believes toppling Dover has given his squad immense belief.
“When you look back at when the draw first came out, it was probably the worst draw we could have faced,” he recalled.
“It was against a team that were flying high in the National League, and also possibly the longest journeys we could have faced.
“But on the day we took some tremendous support down to Dover, the team played exceptionally well and it was a special day for us.
“We have got to believe in ourselves, but we know we’re going to be the underdogs again. We will prepare properly and we will give ourselves the best opportunity of creating that upset.
“To reach that third round would be an amazing achievement. We have an opportunity, albeit against a very strong Eastleigh side, but we certainly have an opportunity.”