Port Vale midfielder Luke Joyce says he has fond memories of the FA Cup, both before his playing days and during his playing career, ahead of the Valiants’ First Round tie with King’s Lynn at Vale Park on Saturday.
“The cup is a big competition for me, you always think of when you were a kid and when you used to watch the FA Cup final at Wembley and the shocks of the non-league teams beating the Football League teams,” said the Vale midfielder.
“On a personal level, I made my professional debut for Wigan against Leeds at Elland Road in the cup many years ago, and I’ve managed to even sneak a couple of goals in the competition!”
“There’s always shocks in the cup, and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen to us tomorrow against King’s Lynn.”
Though Joyce is looking forward to Saturday’s game, it is tinged with disappointment that the fans cannot be there to follow the club and recreate the special memories of last season’s campaign.
“When we played Manchester City last season, a League Two club taking on a giant of the Premier League, we sold out our away allocation, but that probably won’t be the case this year.”
“But you’ve still got that chance of drawing a big team and playing in a big stadium against some top players.”
The Valiants midfielder is aware of the potential financial rewards a cup run could prosper, especially this season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think every club will be thinking about the rewards with the prize money involved in the cup.”
“Kevin and Carol (Shanahan) have been brilliant with us, so if we can repay them in some way with a cup run and help the club out a little bit, we’ll be doing our utmost to do that.”
The Valiants will be hoping to somewhat replicate or even better last season’s FA Cup run, which involved an away win at League One side MK Dons, a Tom Pope hat-trick at Cheltenham Town, and a special day out at the (then) reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, a game which included an iconic Tom Pope equaliser.
“It was brilliant because we started off with a really tough draw at MK Dons.”
“We were the underdogs that day just like King’s Lynn will be tomorrow, so it shows that there really isn’t a massive gulf between the divisions, and there is no room for error.”
“Cheltenham away in the second round wasn’t really the draw anybody wanted, but we went there and Popey’s hat-trick earned us a trip to the Etihad.”
Ahead of the game, Joyce says the team are well prepared to take on Ian Culverhouse’s team tomorrow.
“We’ve done our homework and tactical analysis and spent the majority of Friday morning focusing on that.”
“We’re aware of the threats they pose, but we know what threats we can pose on them as well.”