Beardsley looking to make the most of home advantage
Boro striker believes squad’s experience of playing at Lamex Stadium will be of benefit
BORO striker Chris Beardsley believes the squad’s experience of playing at the Lamex Stadium will stand them in good stead when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
A sell-out crowd will cram into the Lamex to see Gary Smith’s team go head-to-head with the Premier League high-fliers and Beardsley believes Boro’s home advantage could help the League 1 side in their bid to cause another cup upset after defeating Newcastle United last season.
“For us, as a group of players, we’ve got to see it [playing at home] as more of an advantage because it is our pitch, it is our stadium, our dressing room and we know how games are played here,” Beardsley told The Comet.
“We’ve played hundreds of games here as a group so it is what we are used to and that is always better than playing the unknown.”
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Boro go into the game on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Tuesday evening. The game was Boro’s first competitive action for 17 days due to the inclement weather but during that time they never missed a training session, using a number of alternative facilities, and Beardsley says that has helped them ease back into their normal routine when the weather subsided.
“We were lucky – we didn’t stop training all the way through the bad weather,” he explained.
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“We managed to get out there everyday and do something and now we’re getting back into the routine with training and games; this group of players just adjusts to whatever comes really.
“With the weather being the way it has we’ve been training on different surfaces and doing slightly different sessions and it can be a break from the norm. Maybe it can be a bit tougher on your limbs but if you adjust your training to suit I definitely think you can get some benefit from it.”
Tuesday’s win at Hillsborough also stretched the club’s unbeaten run to six games and provided the players with a much needed 90 minutes.
“It was nice to get a win last time out against Sheffield Wednesday,” added Beardsley.
“In all honesty two-and-a-half weeks is a long time to go without a competitive game in a football season and it was a big game to get under our belts and to come away with three points. It keeps us going and we can look forward to Sunday now.”
Cup fever has engulfed the town ever since the draw was made with some fans queuing for over three hours to get their hands on tickets for the clash. The tie has also caught the attention of the national media but for Beardsley and Co. their focus has never been past their next game.
The 27-year-old said: “We always focus on the next game so I would never say Tottenham have been in our sights before we’d come off the pitch on Tuesday which is always the good thing about the players and the staff at this football club; we never get ahead of ourselves.
“We came into training this morning (Thursday) and now we’re focussing to play Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup; it’s not Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League it’s Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup at the Lamex and that’s all we can focus on.
“The squad that Harry Redknapp has got there is as good as you get in the Premier League and I think they’ve proved that this season. Whatever 11 he puts on the pitch is going to have quality all over.”
Sunday’s game gets underway at 2pm, something the Boro players will have to adapt to but Beardsley believes the squad have learned some valuable lessons over the past couple of years with regards to preparation.
The former Kettering front man explained: “Over the last couple of years we’ve had some different times for kick off so we’ve learnt how to adjust and we’ve probably learnt some lessons from that as well.
“We will just have to bring everything forward by an hour.”
Demand for tickets has been just as great amongst the players’ family and friends but come Sunday Beardsley says his focus will be on just one; doing his job.
“There will be some (family and friends) there and there are some that are watching it on the telly, which is a bit different because it is not every week they get to watch on the telly so they’ll all enjoy it as well but when it comes to Sunday it is my job and it is just a game of football.”