MX23RW : Monday, November 19 07:58:00

Haringey Borough boss Loizou ready for 'FA Cup winners' AFC Wimbledon

The Bostik Premier League side will take on League One AFC Wimbledon in a televised match.

Haringey Borough will make their first ever appearance in the FA Cup first round on Friday night and manager Tom Loizou could not have wished for better opponents.

The Bostik Premier League side will take on League One AFC Wimbledon in a match which will be broadcast live on television.

"They're FA Cup winners, as far as I'm concerned," Loizou told Press Association Sport of Wimbledon.

"They are the real and true Wimbledon FC, who played at Plough Lane with the 'Crazy Gang'.

"For someone who's just made history and qualified for the first round proper for the first time, to play someone like Wimbledon and be in that sort of company, it's unbelievable. It could not have been a better draw."

Friday's game will be Boro's sixth in the competition this season, a run which began with a preliminary round victory over Stanway Rovers on August 25 and included a dramatic 3-2 victory at Brentwood, where Boro scored a 90th-minute equaliser and a stoppage-time winner.

It is a run which has swelled the club's coffers in a way which can transform the basics at this level.

Loizou gives a list of priorities ranging from gym equipment for the players to tarmacking the club car park so locals attending the Sunday car boot sales "don't get covered in stones or walk through puddles" any more.

A crowd of 3,000 is expected at Coles Park on Friday, a far cry from the regular crowds of around 350, and incomparable to the sorts of numbers seen a few years ago before the club began offering free season tickets.

"Four years ago we were getting 20 supporters," Loizou said. "So the chairman said we'll give everyone a free ticket and hopefully they buy a drink or a burger or something. All of a sudden we were getting 300 or 350 and that's doubled in the last two weeks.

"When they all come on Friday night we'll probably have to give away another 2,000 season tickets. Three years ago you said Haringey Borough and people said, 'Who?' Now everyone knows us."

That reputation will only grow if they can get any sort of result on Friday – something Loizou recognises will be a tall order.

Boro have slipped to 18th in the league, though in part because the FA Cup run has left them with games in hand and seen all but three of their home league fixtures postponed.

"The players are only human and their eye is on the FA Cup," Loizou said. "The league form has dipped a bit but we got a draw with the team who were second in the league (Enfield) at the weekend because I told them anyone who doesn't perform won't be playing on Friday.

"But everyone's excited. The chairman's running round like a little kid. It's a one-chance-in-a-lifetime. I'm not going to stop that because it's good for the players and good for the club.

"We're not taking this game lightly. We know they're four levels above us and it's a slim chance, but if we work hard and we get a little bit of luck who knows what might happen."


Click here for more stories about Tom Loizou

Click here for more stories about AFC Wimbledon

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Portsmouth17115128141438
2Sunderland17106133141936
3Peterborough UnitedPeterborough18104434231134
4Luton TownLuton1896330171333
5Barnsley1795328121632
6Charlton AthleticCharlton178452620628
7Blackpool177732016428
8Doncaster RoversDoncaster188462725228
9Coventry CityCoventry188462019128
10Accrington StanleyAccrington187742121028
11Walsall187561924-526
12Fleetwood Town186662419524
13Burton Albion177372322124
14Southend UnitedSouthend187292224-223
15Wycombe WanderersWycombe185762425-122
16Shrewsbury TownShrewsbury185671922-321
17Scunthorpe UnitedScunthorpe185672838-1021
18Rochdale185582434-1020
19Gillingham1853102630-418
20Oxford UnitedOxford Utd184682127-618
21Bristol Rovers184591516-117
22Plymouth ArgylePlymouth1834111934-1513
23AFC Wimbledon1832131228-1611
24Bradford CityBradford1832131332-1911

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