Mike Williamson aims to avoid another FA Cup giant-killing ahead of Gateshead's Kidsgrove clash

Nobody needs to warn Gateshead player-manager Mike Williamson about the perils of an FA Cup tie against a lower-ranked opposition.

Friday, 4th October 2019, 12:08 pm
Updated Friday, 4th October 2019, 12:09 pm
Mike Williamson

The former Newcastle United centre-back was on the wrong end of a shock defeat in the competition three times during his six-year stay at St James Park.

In 2011, with Alan Pardew just six weeks into his managerial reign at Gallowgate, a Magpies side containing Fabricio Coloccini, Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Williamson himself, were humbled by a 3-1 Third Round defeat at League Two club Stevenage.

In January 2012, a 1-0 defeat at Championship club Brighton ended United’s run in the Fourth Round and they fell at the first hurdle with a 2-0 defeat against the Seagulls twelve months later.

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The former Magpies defender is undertaking his first FA Cup run as a manager with Gateshead and that got off to a prolific start with a 6-0 home win against Ramsbottom United in the Second Qualifying Round of the competition two weeks ago.

With one banana skin avoided, the Heed will approach another one this weekend when they travel to BetVictor NPL South West Division club Kidsgrove Athletic.

Williamson called upon his players to show the right mentality to find their way past a side sat two divisions below them in the non-league pyramid.

He said: “We want to get through so we will make sure we all approach the game in the right way.

“When you get a club that is below you in the leagues, it can spread an element of complacency.

“I have been on the end of that.

“Mentally, you never think you are switching off.

“But when you are playing a top team, like when you play a Manchester City or an Arsenal, your instincts and the adrenalin are flowing.

“But with this is an honest group of players we have here, I don’t think I have to worry about that because everyone wants to win every game.”

A win in Staffordshire would land Gateshead £11,250 in prize money and take them within 90 minutes of a potential First Round tie against former FA Cup winners like Sunderland, Coventry City and Portsmouth.

Williamson was adamant that he does not want to look beyond Saturday’s game at Kidsgrove – but did admit that he is motivated to reach the First Round to help provide the newly supporter-owned club with “something to get behind and be really proud of”.

“I am one game at a time – and I know that’s a cliché,” he explained.

“But in the FA Cup, my motivation and desire is more for the people that worked so hard to save this club and for the fans – more than for myself.

“I am just a cog in a much bigger wheel and I want to give the guys that are working relentlessly something to get behind and be really proud of.”