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Jones puts his faith in a Paulton miracle

PUBLISHED: 12:06 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:04 06 July 2010

Paddy Davitt

Paulton boss Andrew Jones is drawing on FA Cup folklore to convince his underdogs they can topple Norwich this weekend to conjure one of the greatest shocks of all time.

Paulton boss Andrew Jones is drawing on FA Cup folklore to convince his underdogs they can topple Norwich this weekend to conjure one of the greatest shocks of all time.

The Southern League part-timers sit 118 places and five tiers below Paul Lambert's League One promotion hopefuls in the football pecking order ahead of Saturday's televised first round tie.

Jones, however, warns the Canaries the world-famous cup competition is littered with giant killing acts from non league outfits and embarrassing exits for the big boys.

“You ask Sutton United, you ask Hereford, you ask Yeovil,” he said. “In the past it has happened and it will happen again. That is what I have told my players - in this round or the next round it will happen.

“I think it will be a culture shock for them. Don't get me wrong, we have decent facilities and a good pitch at our level - but the changing room will be ten times smaller than what they are used to.

“The supporters are going to be as close as they've ever experienced to them pitchside. We'll have 2,500 or thereabouts in the ground but it will feel like 25,000 when they are on top of them. It's not just my players but there'll be Norwich players who are playing live on television in the FA Cup for the first time and it could affect them as much as us.”

Jones believes his minnows have a puncher's chance.

“We have to do our utmost to be as competitive as possible,” he said. “In my programme notes for the game I've said we need to play better than we have ever done in our lives and just hope Norwich has an off day.

“We'll have to take our one or two chances that we'll definitely get and they'll have to miss the four or five they'll definitely get.

“In all our games this season one of my players has had a half chance early on. If we can take that then it's a huge fillip. We need to start well - that is the key.

“We've tried to do our homework and we've worked closely with Bristol Rovers who have a couple of lads on loan with us so they've provided some reports. I also had the game watched at Stockport on Saturday so we've tried to do our bit.”

Jones admitted both clubs share one common goal despite operating at the opposite end of the footballing spectrum.

“We're not going to win the FA Cup, I accept, that but if we don't get promoted this season I'll be very disappointed,” he said. “The priority is to get up the pyramid. We're only a small village club but we're a well equipped small village club and we feel we could have got promoted in recent years.

“The money we make from this tie will allow us to put down a firmer foundation because at our level you always work from year to year with the budgets. We don't throw money at players to get them here - we do it mainly on team spirit. In our league there are probably players elsewhere who earn half of what my total weekly playing budget is but I have no complaints. I know what my budget is at the start of each season and I am happy to go with that and we do the best we can.”

Jones revealed it has taken an army of helpers to get the club's Winterfield Road ready in time to host the plum tie of the round.

“I haven't been to my day job for about a week and a half,” he said. “We're a part time club with volunteer helpers so we're trying to manage as best we can. It has been manic since the draw and you can almost forget there is a game to be played with everything that has needed to be done away from the pitch. It has been hard to prepare the lads for the games in between the draw and this tie.

“Thankfully we managed to get through in the league at the weekend without any injuries so our full concentration is now on the Norwich game. I was a bit disappointed with our last performance if I'm honest but I accept they probably had other things on their mind. The most important thing was getting three points and no injuries and thankfully we have a full group to pick from so no one is going to miss out on the day.”

Jones has just one wish from Paulton's biggest day in their history in front a global television audience.

“I want everyone to go away from our club having had a great day,” he said. “That includes my players. We want to put on a decent show on and off the pitch. I want my players to look themselves in the mirror after the game and know they did everything they could do - whether it's good enough for a win, draw or a defeat time will tell.”


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