Stockport captain Liam Hogan is adamant the Vanarama National League side will not be overawed when West Ham visit Edgeley Park in the FA Cup third round on Monday evening.
The Hatters are into the third round of the competition for the first time in 14 years and have been paired against a Premier League side who they memorably defeated en route to the League Cup semi-finals in the 1996/97 season.
County won promotion to the old First Division – now the Sky Bet Championship – in that campaign before sliding down the football pyramid, and they were in the sixth tier National League North as recently as two years ago.
A takeover has brought renewed optimism to a club that now firmly have their sights set on returning to the Football League, while a cup run has given them an extra spring in their step, according to Hogan.
He said: “We don’t hide in our shells and I’m pretty sure, looking at the lads over the last few days, that’s not going to be the case because they’ve been skipping around training and wanting to show what they’re all about.
“For us it’s a massive game. The levels between us (and West Ham) are big but we’re looking to go and show ourselves in the best way possible.
“A cup upset, I’d love to be involved in one. We’ll go out there and complete the job that the gaffer has asked of us to the best of our abilities, and hopefully it will cause West Ham problems and might even be enough on the day.
“They’ll have that extra bit of quality but it’s for us to show what we’re capable of and give the lads a bit of a free reign when we do get the ball.”
Stockport, who sit fourth in the National League, edged out League One Rochdale in the first round then overcame Yeovil after extra-time to set up a televised tie against a Hammers side who currently sit 10th in the Premier League.
Hogan, who joined the club from Salford in February last year, said: “The cup run has rejuvenated us.
“We’ll be on the telly again on Monday which is really important for the club – not just the players on the pitch but the staff and everybody that has worked to get us to where we are at the minute.”
Hogan, who started for Salford as they beat AFC Fylde in the 2019 National League play-off final at Wembley, has never come up against Premier League opposition in a decade-long playing career.
The 31-year-old added: “This is the top of the game, the elite and where the boys are going to be pushing with their own performances and their own careers.
“To go and match yourself against the best that England has to offer – they’ve had a good start to their season, and we’ve had a good start to ours, it looks like a great fixture on paper.”
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get daily World Cup 2022 news, updates and other football fr