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Upward says Magpies players will be given the tools they need to cause FA Cup upset

Ryan Upward believes Alan Devonshire and his coaching team will give the players the tools they need to defeat Rotherham United on Saturday and progress to the FA Cup second round for the first time since 1886/87.

The Magpies’ central midfielder says they’ve got ‘every chance’ of causing an upset at York Road on Saturday, but admits they’ll have to play much better than they did in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Aldershot Town.

The BBC Football Focus cameras will be shining the spotlight on Maidenhead ahead of the tie but Upward is confident the occasion won’t get to the players.

“We’ve reached the first round but we’d love to make that extra step,” he said.

“We know Rotherham are a good side and they’ve been on fire this year. But, if we put in a good performance, we’ve got every chance.

“We’re better as the underdogs. I’m sure the gaffer and coaches will have been watching them and they’ll let us know what we need to know and how we’re going to go about it.

“We’ll be given information on what is required from us and that should give us every opportunity to turn them over.”

United are no strangers to the first round of the FA Cup, having been to this stage in three of the last four seasons.

On each occasion they’ve bowed out to League 1 opposition, namely Port Vale, Coventry City and Portsmouth, but Upward says that if they can nullify them for long enough they’ve got a chance. He also doesn’t think there’s much of a difference in quality between players in the National League and those in League 1.

“I would assume we’ll go defensive,” he said. “Try to nullify them and keep it at 0-0 for as long as possible and then hit them on the counter.

“From my experience I don’t think there’s any more quality in League 1 than in the Conference, but as a whole they’re more organised, fitter, sharper, so they always tend to come through. Once they get a goal ahead they’re very professional and they know how to see games out.

“In our first game against Port Vale we should have beaten them, but eventually their fitness and sharpness told. Against Portsmouth it was 0-0 close to half-time.

“We’ve just got to keep it tight and take our chances because we will get chances.

He added: “We’ve also played Wycombe in pre-season and done quite well against them.

“I know the competitive edge isn’t there but you can still tell the quality of the players.

“I’ve heard that Rotherham are a big, physical side, but so were Solihull and we matched them and got a good result.”

Whatever happens on Saturday, Upward is keen to do one thing – get his hands on the FA Cup trophy. It’s being brought to the club by the Beeb for their Football Focus coverage.

But Upward is fairly sure Devonshire won’t let the players be distracted by what’s happening off the field.

“They’re bringing the FA Cup with them so hopefully we can touch it at least, even if we don’t get through,” he said.

“Football Focus is a massive show with millions of viewers so it’s great to have it at York Road.

“We’ll probably get there at about 1pm (after the show has aired). The gaffer won’t be worried about all that. He’ll just be focused on the game and getting our heads right for it so I’m assuming it’s a normal meet-up time.

“But let’s hope this year it’s us that progresses to the second or third round.

“We’ve got every chance. This is the FA Cup, it’s where the magic happens.”

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