BATTLE first, then play football.
Those will be the words driving Town midfielder Michael Collins and his colleagues against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup tonight (7.45).
The Galpharm first-round tie presents Town with the chance to chalk a third successive win and to maintain momentum as they approach a spell of three successive home matches.
“Even though the league is our priority, it would be nice to have a run in the FA Cup and that’s a great incentive as we look forward to the Dagenham match,” said Collins, who has made five consecutive starts and is enjoying his best sequence of the season.
“Having got a great win under our belt at Oldham last Sunday we’ve not got the chance to really kick on at home and we want to make the most of that.
“Our only focus right now is the Cup-tie, and I’ve spoken to Simon Eastwood, our keeper who is on loan at Bradford, to ask him about Dagenham because they played them three weeks ago (Bradford lost 2-1 at Victoria Road).
“He said they are a dangerous side to play against and, while we will be heavy favourites, the underdogs always fancy their chances in the FA Cup.
“So it’s important we out-battle them and then, hopefully, our quality will shine through and we’ll go on to win the game.”
Collins is confident Town are poised to enjoy a successful spell on the back of the win at Boundary Park, when the team were followed by almost 4,000 travelling fans, and with the squad now back to full fitness with the exception of Robbie Simpson (thigh, four more weeks).
“I think people could see from the celebrations which followed the Oldham match how hungry we are as a squad of players to achieve what we want this season,” he explained.
“It’s a matter of making sure we play well together and put the graft in, but with the match-winners we’ve got at our disposal I think we are as well set as anyone in League I.
“I’m biased, for sure, but we have a very talented young squad and, individually, we’ve got as much quality if not more than any of our rivals.
“What we have to do now is put down a real marker, so that when we take on the top clubs and our top-six rivals in the coming weeks we are really breathing down their necks in the table.
“If they slip up, we want to make sure we are winning and jumping all over them.
“We’re determined to push on for ourselves and also for the fans, who were magnificent again over at Oldham last weekend.
“They really do give us a tremendous lift and the noise they made at Oldham was incredible.”
Lancashire’s Graham Salisbury, who took charge of Town’s 3-1 Carling Cup victory against Stockport County back in August, is the referee tonight.
There’s an £18,000 prize for the winners and, though the tie go to a replay, it will be played in east London on Tuesday, November 17.
The second round draw is on Sunday (3.35) on ITV1.
Sports editor Mel Booth talks about the latest Town news and looks forward to tonight's clash as well as potential transfer window moves in the latest edition of Town Talk below.