Barrow boss Paul Cox knows what it is like to manage in the third round of The Emirates FA Cup, and he hopes this weekend’s clash with Rochdale has a far happier outcome than four years ago.
Cox was in charge of Mansfield Town when Luis Suarez’s controversial goal – that featured a strong handball shout from the Uruguayan – saw Liverpool into the FA Cup fourth round after a 2-1 win at Field Mill against the non-League side back in 2013.
Rochdale may not be Liverpool but they are a club on the rise, sitting fourth in the League One table and winning seven of their last eight games.
Barrow v Rochdale
- The Emirates FA Cup
- Third Round Proper
- 3pm, Saturday 7 January 2017
- Holker Street, Barrow FC
- By Charlie Bennett
Cox took over at Barrow in November 2015, and his side currently sit sixth in the National League table after a 23-game unbeaten run – which came to an end against Gateshead on New Year’s Eve.
The Bluebirds knocked out Bristol Rovers in the last round, and former Notts County defender Cox hopes his side can create history by reaching the fourth round for the first time.
“The hype around that Liverpool match was surreal and it will be the same here. The players get attention they are not used to and the club gets a lot of press too,” he said.
“It is very important we keep everyone very level-headed. We used The FA Cup game against Liverpool as a springboard for the championship that year.
“We have probably over-achieved with everything we have done so far this season and it is all about growing the club.
“I think the club have been involved at this stage a few times but have never made it through, and this is an opportunity to create history for the football club – which would be amazing.
“To do that, we know the size of the task involved. Rochdale are flying high and we need them to be a bit below their best for us to have a chance.”
Cox, who has also managed Eastwood Town and Torquay United, knows it is hard to not dream of a mouth-watering fourth round tie – but it is not Manchester United or Liverpool who he has his eyes on.
“I am a closet Newcastle United fan – which stems from playing there, the passion of the fans and the city itself. I would love them home or away,” he added.
Emirates FA Cup History
Barrow have reached the third round of The FA Cup on 11 occasions, yet lost every time. The most recent was in 2009-10 – where they went down 3-0 to Sunderland.
In contrast, Rochdale have reached the fifth round on two occasions – losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace in 1989-90 and 3-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2002-03.
Did you know?
Barrow are two-time winners of The FA Trophy and are the only team to lift the cup at both the old and new Wembley Stadium.
One to watch
Striker Byron Harrison has proved to be crucial for Barrow, and the 29-year-old is a major threat to Rochdale’s backline. Harrison, who has previously played for AFC Wimbledon, Stevenage and Cheltenham Town, scored both goals in Barrow’s second round win away at Bristol Rovers.
The winners will pocket £67,500 and book a spot in the fourth round.