Smith hoping Crawley put on a good show
However, he is wary that past performances of Conference clubs against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils could work against their namesakes from the Broadfield Stadium.
Manchester United’s last two FA Cup meetings with non-league opposition – against Exeter in 2005 and Burton Albion a year later – have ended goalless, with United going on to win the respective replays.
And as a result, former Yeovil and Hereford playmaker Smith believes that may cause Ferguson to field a stronger side against Steve Evans’ men.
“That may well work against us as Sir Alex knows what quality there is in the lower leagues and he was at Wrexham on Tuesday so he’s not taking us lightly and showing us a lot of respect. He may even put out a stronger team than he would have previously, knowing the results that they’ve had against Exeter and Burton in the past.” Smith exclusively told FourFourTwo.
“Irrespective of the result, the important thing for us is just to put on a good show and show people around the country what we’re capable of and the amount of quality there is in the lower leagues. There’s a lot of good players in the Conference, which has been shown in the last few years when players have gone on to have good careers in the Football League. If we can do ourselves justice for Crawley Town and for the Blue Square Bet Premier then we’ll be happy, whatever the score.”
Crawley have recorded two goalless draws away at Kettering and Wrexham and a 3-2 home victory – also against Wrexham due to a fixture backlog – since the draw was made, pitting Town against the might of United.
Smith concedes that the mouthwatering tie has been nagging at the back of the players’ minds, and that a return of five points from the their three league games – leaving them three points behind league leaders AFC Wimbledon with four games in hand – is satisfactory.
“We’ve tried as much as we can to keep it out of our heads, but for most, if not all, of the players it’s going to be the biggest game of our careers,” he said. “I think we’ve given it our full attention when we’ve played the games and we’re relatively happy to have come through that spell unbeaten.”
With a Champions League trip to Marseille on the horizon for Ferguson’s men, how strong a line-up the Scot will field against Crawley remains to be seen, with the likes of Darron Gibson, Bebe and Javier Hernandez expected to feature.
In an ideal world, Smith says he would love to be able to pit his wits against Old Trafford icons Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. But the West Ham-supporting playmaker would more-than-settle for going toe-to-toe with former Hammer Michael Carrick.
“I’d love to play against Scholes and Giggs. For someone of my age who has grown up with them over the last 15 years, they’ve been two of the best midfielders since the Premier League began. To be able to play at the level they have for so long and still be the best is just testament to how well they look after themselves.
“I’m also a big fan of Michael Carrick. Being a West Ham fan, I’ve always admired the way he plays, always got his head up and available for the ball. To play against someone like that would be great. Even at my age it&rsqu