All is set for the biggest match on Barnsley’s non-league scene tomorrow, when Shaw Lane AFC take on League Two Mansfield Town in the first round of the FA Cup.
A 500-seat temporary stand has been hired to house visiting fans at Athersley Rec’s Sheerien Park and fans countrywide will also have the opportunity to watch the encounter which is being screened live on BT Sport, kick-off 12.30pm.
The Ducks’ owner, Craig Wood, under whose guidance they have had a meteoric rise from Sunday League soccer six years ago to currently challenging for further promotion into the National League North, says: “The most important aspect of the tie is in raising the profile of the club and building the fanbase. You can’t get a better way of putting your club on the map than a game like this.
“It’s live on Saturday lunchtime when people will be watching in pubs and clubs and the non-league world will switch on.”
He added: “Barnsley fans can watch us and then go down to Oakwell for their 3.00pm game.”
There are four former Reds in the Mansfield squad – Jacob Mellis, Paul Digby, Danny Rose and Kane Hemmings.
And midfielder Mellis has warned his team that the Evo-Stik side deserve respect for their good run of form in 2017/18.
If selected, Mellis will be playing a cup-tie against non-league opposition for the fist time and he said: “I’m excited for it. I’ve never had a tie like this before. I normally just get teams in the same league or whatever, so I’m looking forward to this tie.”
“We’ve got to respect them, they’ll respect us and it’ll be a good cup tie. It’s a good test for us and you know with the FA Cup, anyone can win.”
The 26-year-old went on: “We’ll prepare the same way as a league game, exactly the same. They’re going to have some good players and on the day anyone can win, so we’ll have to be on our toes.”