FA Cup: Handsworth boss Russ Eagle wants Halesowen clash to be start of something big

Handsworth FC boss Russ Eagle wants big matches like the club’s upcoming FA Cup tie against higher division Halesowen to become regular ocassions.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 5:27 pm

The Ambers, who play in the ninth tier of English football, have made the second qualifying round for only the second time in their history and have the chance to reach the third qualifying round for the first ever time on Saturday.

But standing in their way is a side who play one level higher in the football pyramid and remain unbeaten this season.

"It’s a really good chance for us to go and upset the apple cart,” said Eagle.

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Handsworth players celebrate their first goal against Coventry United in the last round. Photo: Ken Allsebrook.

“The way I have gone about it this week is to get into the lads if they are good off the ball as well as on it we have got a chance.”

Saturday will be the biggest game many Handsworth players have ever played in, as well as the biggest crowd, and Eagle wants to make sure the occasion doesn’t get the better of them.

They previously rallied to beat Stocksbridge Park Steels, who play one division higher, in the preliminary round.

"The first 15 or 20 minutes will be massive for us,” Eagle said.

"It was the same against Stocksbridge. We rode our luck for the first 15 or 20 minutes until we got into the game.

"I have got a few younger lads and you don’t get that fear factor. It’s a big thing for us to deal with but everybody is ready.”

Eagle, now in his third season back at Handsworth, pledged to take the full week off work at his trophy and sportswear shop should the Ambers upset the odds.

He hopes it could also be the start of something special for the club.

"I said to the chairman it’s no good having one night, I’m having three. If we win it just opens everything up.

"It will be a bigger challenge and that’s no disrespect to Stocksbridge but this is a level that I want to get my club to.

"I want these games to be week in, week out. It’s not a massive, massive stage. I don’t think we are far off this next level.”