After an enthralling 3-3 draw last week, tonight sees the second instalment of ‘The Battle of the Bees’ in the Fourth Round replay at Griffin Park. The first game proved that the magic of the cup is still alive and kicking, didn’t it?
I think it did. There’s a lot of talk about teams from the Premier League and the Championship not taking the competition too seriously and it’s almost as if it’s an unwelcome distraction for some of them. But for teams at Barnet’s level it’s not just about the money, it’s also about the glamour of trying to get a result against a team higher up the footballing pyramid. The big crowd on Monday night and the atmosphere that was generated by it was proof that there is still a lot of investment in the FA Cup from fans at this level.
The atmosphere at The Hive last Monday was something to behold and there’s no doubt Barnet will bring a large following to West London. How much will that spur Darren Currie’s side on?
It’s always tough to get a result away from home in the replay. I think if it’s the other way around and you’ve got the replay at your home ground, it feels a little bit more possible. At the same time, the team and the fans will be buoyed by the fact we went to Sheffield United and got a result in the previous round and often the home crowd isn’t quite so large for cup games against lower league opposition. If Barnet can bring a really big following, I suppose that will spur the team on and motivate them to go for the win.
Goalkeeper Will Huffer looked assured on his debut having signed on-loan from Leeds United just three days earlier. Is he likely to start the return fixture?
It’s very hard to say but it feels a little bit harsh on Mark Cousins - who was the man between the sticks for the whole cup run up to this point – if he doesn’t get the chance. At the same time, when Darren Currie was talking about the transfer in his pre-match interview with the official club website, he alluded to the fact that this was a month’s loan and, if the conditions were right for both parties, then that could potentially be extended. You’d imagine that Huffer would have to play regularly for the deal to be extended.
The winner of this tie travels to Swansea City in the Fifth Round. Would you say the fact a ‘glamour tie’ isn’t up for grabs gives Barnet hope of getting even further in the competition? They’ve already given a good account of themselves against two Championship sides…
It definitely changes the complexion of the tie because, if you are Brentford, you have the potential to go quite deep in the competition because so many Premier League teams have been knocked out. From Barnet’s point of view, I’m not sure what it really changes. They will want the money from getting through to the next round and, by this point, they’ve gone so far that if they got through it would be a club record in the competition. They’d be happy playing whoever – they won’t think very much beyond the next round.
What’s your score prediction for the game?
I do think the first game gave a hint as to the way this one might go because it was very much attack-minded. If the line-ups are pretty similar from both sides we could see another high-scoring game. I think it could go all the way; potentially a 2-2 draw going all the way to penalties.
For the full chat with Will plus exclusive interviews with Josh Dasilva and Richard Cadette, pick up a copy of BEES this evening for the reduced price of £3.
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