Grant Black is feeling an overwhelming sense of pride as manager of Belper Town ahead of the Nailers’ FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Notts County.
Belper make the short journey across the county border on Saturday looking to continue their giant-killing story when they take on Neal Ardley’s National League Magpies.
Midweek forecasts predict the Nailers will be backed by more than 1,300 fans at Meadow Lane, as Black’s side look to upset the odds once more in the prestigious competition. They have already seen off higher-league opposition in the form of Alvechurch, Witton Albion and Rushall Olympic and now have their sights set on a place in the FA Cup first round proper.
“I’m proud to manage these lads every week and proud to manage this club,” Black told the Belper News.
“The fans have brought a lot of positivity to things with the number of tickets they’re taking up and good luck messages they are sending us.
“The lads are aware of that response from the fans and are already talking amongst themselves about what a special day it’s going to be.
“When they walk out at three o’clock and see a sea of yellow it will hit home then, even more.
“We want the fans to go and have a great day because they deserve it.
“We’ll go there to try and get a result as well to make the club proud and the town proud.
“When all is said and done we want to go there to get a positive result not just to enjoy the day.”
Black, assistant Mick Norbury and chairman Ian Woodward went to watch Notts take on Dagenham and Redbridge in preparation of the tie.
The Magpies, who have always been in the hat for the competition’s first round proper, won 2-0 on the night and registered the same scoreline over Torquay United on Saturday.
“They’ve got very good technical players,” said Black. “It’s going to be a lot faster than it normally is at our level.
“They’re full-time so likely to be fitter over the 90-minute period. We’ve got to choose when we can press against them, which will be difficult.
“They are a side that tries to play football. They’ve got pace and want to go forward quickly.
“We’ll have to be above and beyond and hope they have a worse day than they have been having recently.”
The Nailers, meanwhile, go into the match on the back of a 3-0 defeat in the FA Trophy to Stamford, a loss which signalled the end of their 17-game unbeaten run.
“Looking back, we should have probably made a full change in every department but we wanted to keep it as similar as we could,” he said.
“We tried a different formation as well if we needed to change formation at some point, but it didn’t work very well, so at least we know we won’t be able to use that one.”
And added: “We had a big crowd on Saturday [437 - the highest FA Trophy attendance on the day] and it’s been a good average for the past few weeks.
“The FA Cup run has helped to build that buzz around the club.
“Notts County’s highest away attendance so far this season is around the 300-mark and we could be taking 1,500.
“So massive credit must go to the club, everyone involved and to the fans who are coming on the day.”