A draw is the last thing the Hatters want from Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Dorchester boss Paul Buckle has admitted, writes Mark Wood.
Having drawn 2-2 against the Magpies in the first round of the FA Trophy on Tuesday night, the two teams are already set to face each other three times in a week.
On whether another stalemate would be a bad thing, Buckle said: “I think it is, yeah. Three games within a week, I think we’ll both have had enough of each other by then.”
Both teams have already learned a lot from each from the midweek dress rehearsal, and Buckle continued: “They’ve had a chance to have a good look at us and likewise we’ve had a chance to have a look at them.
“It was a tough game and one that finished honours even. We know what we’ve got to do and it will be a tough place for them to come.
“They played 4-4-2 against us and we were set up 4-4-2 so it was evenly matched up.
“I’m not sure whether they’ll put an extra man into midfield or whether they will go 4-4-2.
“I think the biggest thing for us is to make sure our preparation is right and correct and we treat them with respect, which we will and that we go about our business as usual.
“The players have been in good from of late. I felt the other night, on reflection of the game now, maybe we should have won it, but it wasn’t to be.
“This is a one-off and we will have to be at our best to win the game.
“I think there’ll be a better atmosphere than what there was on Tuesday night.
“I think there’ll be a good atmosphere at Kenilworth Road on Saturday and I think it’s obvious the third round is massive for any lower level club.
“It’s all to play for, it’s a huge game for both clubs. We’ve treated all the cups with respect and we want to go through.
“I think our supporters realise that there’s tough games in our division and in the FA Cup there’s no easy games.
“If the FA Cup was straightforward and easy you wouldn’t see any upsets or shocks.
“There’s been upsets and shocks already. We play a team that’s put a League club out.
“So we need no other warning. I’m sure our supporters know that they’ll be dangerous opposition on Saturday.
“But I must stress it’s about us, it’s not about the opposition, it’s what we do and how we approach the game.”
Looking back on the midweek draw Buckle admitted he was still disappointed that his side hadn’t been able to hold out for victory after conceding a 92nd-minute leveller.
He said: “If you can smell danger you make a change, and I had (Dean) Beckwith on the side and I thought about putting him on but you couldn’t see them getting back into the game.
“That was no disrespect to them, we’d been the dominant team and had the better chances.
“I thought it was a tough game, I wasn’t surprised by it. I thought it would be a battle, the pitch didn’t help, it was tough conditions for both teams and I’m hoping the weather’s a lot better now, that we will get a flatter surface and a better game of football now.
“Because the ball was in the air quite a bit. It’s not our style, but we had to adapt, and I thought the players done great on the evening to come away with a draw in the end.
“Albeit disappointed as we spoke about it after the game to concede so late, but a draw’s not always a bad result away from home.”
But he’s been pleased with the way his players have bounced back from that disappointment, saying: “I always like getting us back on the training field win, lose or draw.
“Sometimes you can come out of a game feeling like you’ve lost, we were probably close to that on Tuesday because we conceded so late.
“But the players trained very well today. We’ve gone through some things, we’ve talked about the shape we’re playing and how we can hurt them and we’ve also spoken about their strengths as well.
“We’ve had an excellent day’s training today and they’ve been fully committed as always, and we’ll have one more session tomorrow where we’ll go over what team we are going to play and then we’ll go into it on Saturday.
“The players were really bright. It’s important in any game to come out firing.
“You don’t want to fall behind, the first one or two things you do in a game you want to do them well and it will be no different on Saturday.
“We will be looking to make a good start, get on the front foot as quickly as possible and I’m sure they’ll be looking to contain us early in the game.
“I think it’s important that we come out of the traps. I think it’s important that we show our supporters, our home fans what our away supporters have seen this season, which is us getting on the front foot quickly, putting teams under pressure and getting in front.
“That’s what we’re paid to do and that’s what we will try and go out and do on Saturday.”
On-loan Exeter City winger Jake Gosling looked Dorchester’s main danger and, while Buckle was aware of the danger, he reiterated that he is not the only former league player in their ranks.
He added: “I think you have to double up. You can’t really leave your full-back one v one all the time.
“We like to be expressive, we like to open the pitch up, but at the same time...
“(JJ) O’Donnell as it was on Tuesday night, and (Alex) Lawless know they’ve got a job to do and a defensive responsibility for the team.
“They have good wingers, they’ve got good players in the team, they’ve shown that by going in the last round against Plymouth.
“They’ve got a lot of ex-League players, so the gap actually isn’t that great as they showed against Plymouth.”