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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Don't bottle it - Bayliss tells Barrow to take FA Cup chance

BARROW AFC boss Dave Bayliss has urged his players to grab their chance of FA Cup glory with both hands – telling them they may never have it again.

The Bluebirds face Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Macclesfield Town at Holker Street tomorrow with the potential prize of a tie against Premier League opposition on the horizon (3pm kick-off).

The victors will go into Sunday’s third round draw with Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and the other 17 top-flight sides, and with the chance of a huge payday for their club.

Underlining what a high-profile occasion it is, the BBC World Service is presenting their award-winning sports programme, Sportsworld, live from Holker Street, with former Blackburn Premier League winner Kevin Gallacher in the presenting team (see story on page 3).

Bayliss knows just how huge such matches can be – having led Barrow to Middlesbrough and Sunderland during his spell in charge – and knows his squad have a unique opportunity to make history against the Silkmen.

“It’s a chance and some of them will never have that chance again,” he said of the prospect of reaching the third round.

“You are playing Macclesfield, a team in your own league, at home in the second round of the FA Cup.

“If I was a player, I would be running through brick walls to play, running through doors to win the game and that’s what I expect from the players on Saturday.

“I expect them to go out there with full determination, effort and desire – if they can’t be up for a game like that, then they shouldn’t play football.”

The match is one of four all non-league ties in the second round, with Harrogate Town taking on Hastings United, Luton hosting Dorchester and Conference sides Lincoln City and Mansfield Town facing off in the others.

All eight sides involved in those games will know they have a great chance of mixing with the big boys in the next round and asked if it was a winnable tie for Barrow, the manager gave a wry smile and said: “It’s losable!

“Every game is winnable, every game is losable. That’s the thing with us, you don’t know who is going to turn up from game to game.

“That’s the thing at this level – if they were more consistent week in, week out, they would be in the Football League and that’s what the aim is for those players.

“To do that, they have to perform to the best of their ability week in, week out. If they do that, they won’t be at Barrow long, because they will be pushing their way up the leagues.”

Bayliss was in the stands to watch Macclesfield lose 3-0 at home to Mansfield in the Conference last week.

Despite the result – part of a string of four back-to-back defeats for the Silkmen going into Saturday – the AFC boss knows tomorrow’s opposition, who include former Bluebird Jack Mackreth in their number, will be no pushovers.

He added: “They are a good side. I watched them last week against Mansfield and they have got some really good players – players who can hurt you.

“I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they turn the corner and they get that one win they are looking for.

“They can change things easily – they’ve got a big squad, they have outlaid a load of money and I’ve got no doubt they will turn the corner and they will finish in the top 10 this season.

“Hopefully they won’t turn that corner until after Saturday’s game.”

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