Jordan Gent wants Cambridge City to make the most of a ‘free hit’ in the Emirates FA Cup against Darlington FC
Jordan Gent has stated that Cambridge City have nothing to lose in their “free shot” at Darlington FC in the Emirates FA Cup, fourth qualifying round on Saturday (October 24).
The Lilywhites delivered a dominant 2-0 win over Halesowen Town last Tuesday, but there was little reward in the draw as they were pitted away the Vanarama National League North side, two tiers higher in the pyramid.
It also means that as Darlington are deemed an ‘elite’ team, the match will be played behind closed doors.
Darlington have yet to win in their delayed league season, having only played two games, but have progressed through two rounds of the Cup and Gent knows the size of the challenge.
“They are a big club. They are two levels above, but in reality they are too low in the football pyramid for where they should be,” said the 28-year-old centre-back.
“They’ve been a Football League club for a lot of years, and it’s probably where they belong, to be honest. Having said that, we’re lower than where we
should be as a football club.
“When you go into a game like this, it’s like a free shot really. We’ve got nothing to lose, we’re in great form and it’s an opportunity there for us.
“We’re doing everything we can to try to get into the first round. It would have been nice to be at home, but that’s the way it goes.
“It’s a free hit. The one thing we won’t do is go into the game and fear them. We will try to take the game to them, we will try to win the game, we won’t just be sitting on the edge of our box defending.
“We are going to go for it, but at the same time we’re going to have to be resilient because we know a side like Darlington are going to have spells in the game where they are dominating possession and it’s going to be hard for us.
“But we’re used to that, and we can sit in, hold our shape and make ourselves difficult to break down. Make no mistake about it, we’re all going to have to be at our best to get through the game with any success.
“But we won’t fear them, we’re going up to win the game.”
City have every right to travel to Blackwell Meadows in a buoyant mood.They have won their past four games, and they have also done it in impressive fashion, exhibiting both control and resilience in equal fashion.
That has given them the platform to then attack with intensity.
“The first two league games were a little bit disappointing as we suffered two 1-0 defeats but since then really we’ve got back to the form we had at the end of last season,” said Gent.
“We’ve made ourselves really difficult to beat, really hard to break down and we’ve been taking our chances as well.
“It’s not just the back four and goalkeeper, it’s all over the pitch as we make ourselves so hard to break down and there are no gaps for the opposition to find and cut us open.
“I think there’s a real mixture in the squad now of experience and know-how of how to manage games, also that energy as well in the side.
“When needed we can pick up the intensity and cause problems for the opposition, but at times if we want to slow the game down and play it at our pace and control it, then I think we’re capable of doing it.
“We’re really versatile as a team and I think Robbie has got the mix in terms of personnel right this year, so long may it continue.”
There is no getting away from the fact that it will be disappointing for City fans that they will not be able to see their side at this stage of the FA Cup for the first time in eight years, especially given the support they have provided so far this season.
“The atmosphere against Halesowen was like something I haven’t experienced at City since I was a spectator myself as a child,” said Gent.
“It was really great to play in front of that and drove us on that extra 10 to 15 per cent that you need to play against these good sides. We had a good following as well at Cheshunt.
“It’s a disappointment they won’t be there on Saturday, but unfortunately with all that’s going on that’s just the way it is at the moment.”