PETER JACKSON will send Town into Carling Cup battle against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light insisting: "We have no fear."
Town's reward for beating Derby is a trip to Wearside to face Marcus Stewart and Co in the second round, which will go ahead on Tuesday, September 23 (8.00).
It's a chance for Town to prove the value of their 2-0 pre-season win over Mick McCarthy's side, who are joint bottom of Division I after Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Millwall, and to earn some cash from a probable 15,000 crowd.
Ex-Town favourite Stewart, who has played only as a sub so far this season, says Sunderland are keen to get a Cup run to spark better form in the League. And Jackson, too, is mindful of the need to pick up points after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Boston before thinking about trying to maintain Town's 100% record against Sunderland in the League Cup competition.
"We've got two important League games coming up straight away against York at home on Saturday and Doncaster away on Monday, but the draw is a good one and we will go up there with no fear," said Jackson today.
"We gave a good account of ourselves against them in pre-season and the lads are already looking forward to tackling them in a competitive fixture.
"There will be a big crowd and, after the wonderful backing we got at Boston on Saturday, I know we will take a lot of fans to the Stadium of Light.
"The reaction of the players when we heard the draw was very positive indeed, so it's an attractive tie to have on the horizon and, when the time comes, we'll be giving it everything we've got."
Town beat Sunderland in 1991-92 and the following season in the competition, which is taking on added importance for McCarthy's men because of their woeful League run. Saturday's was their 17th consecutive League defeat and should they lose at Preston this weekend, they will equal the worst ever run by Darlington 104 years ago.
"We need to pick things up, start scoring some goals and start winning," said Stewart today.
"I've been disappointed personally because, apart from our Cup win at Mansfield, I haven't been playing, and as a team we want to use the Cup to help us get going in the League.
"I'm looking forward to the tie and I think it's got the makings of a real cracker because, from what I hear, Town played really well against Derby in the last round."
Jackson has Rob Edwards and Steve Yates (both hamstring) and Tony Carss (back) under treatment after a Boston match watched by 1,379 Town fans in a crowd of 3,452.
Efe Sodje flew off to Japan yesterday morning to link up with the Nigeria squad while Lee Fowler will also be in action on Wednesday for Wales Under 21s in Serbia Montenegro.
"The lads were disappointed not to win on Saturday because we could have scored four or five in the second half, but we are unbeaten in seven first-team games since we came back to training and I'm delighted overall with the squad," said Jackson.
"We never got going in the first half, but in the second we showed we are always capable of creating chances and scoring goals .
"The support we got was unbelievable and I'm pleased with the way Andy Booth went on and turned the game around for us."
* Town used Everton's team bus on Saturday. It broke down when Everton left for Arsenal the previous day, so David Moyes' side travelled in Town's normal bus while theirs was repaired and used for the Boston trip.
Boston Match Report