FA Cup: Can former Chester boss Neil Young beat big-spenders Wrexham FC again?
FORMER Chester FC boss Neil Young knows what it’s like to stick the boot in on Wrexham and now the current Marine manager is plotting the sequel to his blockbuster at The Racecourse in 2013.
Young headed down the A483 from the Deva eight years ago on the back of a horrendous start to the Blues’ first season back in non-league football’s top flight.
“We’d lost our first five games and we weren’t expected to get anything from the Wrexham game – especially at The Racecourse,” said Young.
“We won 2-0 in what was a proper game with a proper atmosphere.
“It was a bubble match so there was a big police presence. It was all I expected a Wrexham and Chester derby to be.”
Paul Linwood put Chester ahead and on-loan Leeds United teenager Lewis Turner was set up by his twin brother Nathan for a second goal.
“It was a great win and I remember it well.We even had Ash Williams sent off but still managed to keep it to 2-0,” added Young, who after taking Marine all the way to the third round last season, is planning Wrexham’s downfall at Rossett Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Mariners sank Young’s old club Chester at The Deva before victories against Colchester United and Havant and Waterlooville earned the Crosby-based side a crack at Tottenham Hotspur in the third round.
“It was Neil Young against Jose Mourinho,” laughed Young. “Who’d have thought that was going to be happening at the start of that Covid-hit season?”
The cup run earned the non-league side around three-quarters of a million pounds in what was the club’s 11th tie in the competition.
Saturday’s clash with Wrexham will be their seventh in this season’s run – and Young and his team will want to at least get to the first round this time around.
“They had a taste of it last year – and that was without the fans,” he said. “Our crowds are on the up here and we’ll have 1,800 cheering us on in a 2,100 gate. And that can only help our cause.
“We know that Wrexham travel well but I think they’ve got 350 tickets so we’ll have more fans in the ground – and it will be great for our supporters who missed out on the magic of the cup last season.”
Young was downloading all the footage he had on Wrexham’s games this season and making use of a Sunday without Premier League football to analyse a game plan to face Phil Parkinson’s Reds at the weekend.
“I’ve got a few games to look through on my computer but we also have a midweek game against Kidsgrove – that we tried to get called off – so I’ve got a busy few days in front of the screen,” added Young, who hopes ex-Wrexham defender and current captain Dave Raven will be fit to face his old team.
“I lost both centre backs through injury after 20 minutes at Northwich last Saturday so we’ll have to see how they are.
“But having such a small squad, in non-league football you are used to the scenarios.
“We didn’t have a fit centre back for the FA Cup tie against Warrington and we beat them.
“You have to be pragmatic as a manager and we’ll put out what we think will be a team who can tackle Wrexham.”
Adopting a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality, Young believes all the pressure will be on Wrexham, especially with the mega-rich movie millionaires in charge.
And he’s hoping that history will repeat itself.
“Beating Wrexham that day at The Racecourse was one of my proudest moments as Chester manager,” said Young.
“A friend of my dad’s was a massive Wrexham fan and I grew up hearing all about their famous FA Cup wins and I know they’ve got such a proud history, and especially in this competition.
“We made the headlines last year, and with the fans now in the ground backing us, Saturday’s got all the makings of a great cup tie.”