CHESTER City’s walking wounded will play through the pain barrier tomorrow as they aim to kick-off their FA Cup campaign with a giant-killing win over Millwall.
A crippling injury list is threatening to derail City’s chances of springing a surprise in tomorrow’s first round tie at the Deva Stadium, with almost an entire team undergoing treatment.
Manager Simon Davies has given his crocked stars time off training this week in an effort to ensure they are fit to face the Lions – and he expects most of them to pull through.
Davies said: “If there’s anywhere near a chance, they’ll be there. I talk to them all and they’re all saying ‘don’t worry gaffer, I’ll be there.’
“That’s what we can count on with the players we’ve got. If they can be there, they will be there. They’ll give everything they’ve got.”
Both Stephen Vaughan (Achilles) and Richie Partridge (groin) are unlikely to feature but left-back Laurence Wilson is back in contention following a long lay-off with an ankle injury. A host of other key senior players are nursing strains and knocks, including keeper John Danby, skipper Paul Linwood and forwards Kevin Ellison, Ryan Lowe and Eddie Johnson.
Davies said: “It’s been a frustrating week in terms of coaching sessions because we haven’t had the numbers.
“Hopefully all of them will be right for Saturday but I haven’t been able to do an awful lot of work with them because they’ve all needed treatment this week.”
With only one win to show from their last 10 matches, City are hardly in the best of form for tomorrow’s showdown against the Lions, who are third in League One.
Davies knows the first-round draw has not been kind to cash-strapped City, who desperately need the revenue an FA Cup run would bring.
“It’s not the greatest of ties in terms of progression,” admitted the Chester manager. “Everyone longs for that third round away tie with Manchester United or Liverpool which then makes enough money for a couple of seasons.
“We’ve still got the opportunity. It’s one game against Millwall and why can’t we beat them?”
Davies was schooled in the traditions of the FA Cup during his time as a trainee at Manchester United. He travelled to Wembley as a squad member alongside more established stars like Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham as the Red Devils reached four finals in six seasons between 1994 and ‘99.
Davies recalled: “It was like every year we were going to Wembley. It was special and I’ve got the shirt to prove it.
“It’s nice to have memories like that.”
More Blues news and FA Cup previews – pages 70-71.