CARL ADAMS’ managerial CV has included plenty of highs but there is one glaring omission – FA Cup success.
For all the thrills of winning two promotions with Stratford Town, there has never been a buzz of lasting Cup excitement around the DCS Stadium
Adams, who has yet to win an FA Cup tie as Town boss, stresses the league is always his number one priority, but he knows a good run in the world’s greatest competition will not only raise the club’s profile but also bolster their bank balance.
Town embark on the road to Wembley on Saturday when they head to Northern Counties East League side AFC Mansfield in the first qualifying round and Adams admits it is about time Stratford stepped into the spotlight.
“The FA Cup isn’t the be-all, end-all for me,” said Adams. “The league always comes first because that is how managers and players are judged.
“But it is the one thing that’s missing from my CV. We haven’t done too well in the FA Cup in the last few years so maybe it’s about time we got through a few rounds.
“It’s a competition that the fans love and it’s great for the club, financially and in terms of profile.”
Despite the home Bank Holiday Monday defeat to Leamington at the DCS, Stratford will head to AFC Mansfield in upbeat mood.
They turned the tables on promotion-seeking Kettering Town in Saturday’s Southern Premier fixture to chalk up a 3-0 away win thanks to goals from Richard Gregory, Will Grocott and Jamie Sheldon
Against Leamington, they again started brightly, only to trail 2-0 at half time to two Ryan Rowe goals.
However, bearing in mind a difficult first month of fixtures, Adams says Town have created a solid base.
“I’m over the moon with the start we’ve made, especially when you look at the teams we‘ve played,” said Adams.
“If you had said at the start of the season that we would have two defeats in the first seven games, I would have been more than happy with that.
“There’s plenty more to do but we’ve made good progress.”
Progress will be the sole target tomorrow when Town visit Forest Town Arena to play AFC Mansfield.
It will be the first home FA Cup game for the Bulls who were formed in June 2012 as a breakaway club by three directors from Mansfield Town and Adams accepts it will be a potential banana skin for his team.
“If we were playing a team from two levels above us, we would fancy our chances. I’m sure AFC Mansfield will feel the same,” said the manager.
“I remember going to Blaby two years ago and getting beaten. You can’t take anything for granted. You have to produce on the day. Mind you, after that defeat at Blaby we went on to win promotion to the Southern Premier!”
New additions James Fry, a former Birmingham City player who was with Leamington before suffering a fractured jaw, and teenage midfielder Edji Mbunga, who has joined on loan from Birmingham, will both be eligible.
Skipper Richard Gregory will be fit after being left on the bench on Monday while front-runner Dior Angus, missing through a hamstring injury since July, was due to resume training last night.