Mulligan - FA Cup could kick-start our season

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WHITBY Town begin their FA Cup campaign on Saturday with a Yorkshire derby at old adversaries Ossett Town.

The Reds were relegated from the Evo-Stik NPL Premier in April 2011 and currently lie fifth in the First Division North, one step below.

They’ve lost just one of their five games so far, but have yet to win at their Ingfield home.

The Seasiders’ leading scorer Nathan Mulligan (25) feels there’s something special about playing in football’s oldest knock-out trophy.

He told the Whitby Gazette: “These are the games you look forward to - obviously every game’s important, but the FA Cup just has something about it.

“I’ll be having the same feeling as a Premiership player, because it’s the FA Cup - it’s the best competition in the world.”

The former Darlington forward also thinks a break from the league could help kick-start the Blues’ season after six successive defeats.

“I think the run we’ve had, it could be a turn in the corner,” he said.

“Everyone loves the FA Cup, there’s a bit of prize money for the club, which is good and we want to go as far as possible.”

Mulligan’s also had his share of cup disappointment, adding: “A few years ago, at Norton, we got to the third qualifying round against FC United.

“We were 2-1 up on 82 minutes - we could’ve gone 3-1 up but the lad missed a sitter then they went up the other end and scored, then scored again to win 3-2.”

No doubt, Ossett’s main marksman Sam Smith is brewing up a plan to again find the scoresheet this weekend, after a brace in Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Harrogate Railway.

The West Riding outfit have six wins to Whitby’s eight in all-time meetings between the clubs, with two draws.

If the scores are level on Saturday, a replay will take place at the Turnbull Ground this Wednesday at 7.45pm.

Blues have won the last three clashes between the teams, with Jimmy Beadle netting a hat-trick and Davey Southern adding a spectacular fourth in a 4-0 victory, last time out, in March 2011.

Saturday’s victors will pocket £3,000 and a place in the second qualifying round, on 22 September, when teams from the Blue Square North and South enter the competition. The hosts booked their opportunity with a 1-0 win at home to league rivals Goole.

Last season, Whitby reached the penultimate, third qualifying round, losing 2-1 to long-time adversaries Blyth Spartans, after seeing off Parkgate and North Ferriby United.

Kick-off at Ingfield on Saturday is 3pm.