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6 December 2014

A return to Glanford Park has been eagerly awaited by every Iron player, none more so that midfielder Neal Bishop.

The former Blackpool footballer missed United’s last home game through suspension when Scunthorpe locked horns with his former club Notts County, so last took to the home turf in Robin’s first game in charge against Colchester United back in October.

“It’s just the way the fixtures have gone,” he told The Iron Player.

“I wasn’t even involved in the last home game as I was suspended against Notts County, so it’s about two months since I last played here – or it seems that long.

"It’ll be nice to be back on home soil and hopefully there will be a big crowd as I know Worcester will bring a few, so it should be a good atmosphere.”

Bishop, whose footballing career has journeyed from the depths of non-league into the Football League highlighted the importance of the fixture to Worcester City and why he and his team will not be taking the fixture lightly.

“It’s massive for them,” he continued.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are at that level, you probably think you should or could be playing higher and you always want to test yourself against full time professionals.

"For the FA Cup in the second round, we are obviously one of the highest seeds left in the competition, so it’s a good draw for them.

“They’ll come here wanting to prove they are good as us and that they should be playing higher. Some of the younger ones will think they still have a chance of playing at this level and will be trying to prove that."

He added: “We’ve got to be aware of that and their result at Coventry in the last round showed that.”

The former Notts County skipper recalled him time in the non-league levels and how important it was to make an impression in the competition and while he experienced no giant-killing successes, his team always gave it a good go in progression to the stages beyond the qualifying rounds.

“It is that long ago, I can barely remember to be honest,” said Bishop.

“When I was at York City in the Conference, we played Bristol City and were narrowly defeated 1-0 but with other clubs we have never really progressed. It was a bit disappointing really.

“I think Bristol City was in League One at the time and brought a big following to Bootham Crescent. It was a game I was desperate to play in because at the time I was coming through the pyramid and looking to catch someone’s eye."

He added: “They’ll be looking to do the same thing on Sunday.”

The United midfielder, who has captained the side since Robins arrived as the new first team manager, also highlighted the importance of the fixture to the home team, who will be looking to achieve progression to the Third Round.

“It’s out next game, so it’s our most important game,” he stated.

“We can take confidence from our game at Barnsley last week, but it’ll be a different game on Sunday. We’ve got to give them the respect they deserve, but the onus will be on us.

“It’s eleven against eleven and it’s a game of football, so it’s going to be a hard game. It’s one we’re looking forward to and one we’re looking to get a positive result from and if we play like we have been doing, I’m sure we can achieve that."

He added: “It’s important we don’t give them any encouragement. We need to set the tempo, play to our pace and control the game, especially in the early stages.”

See much more from Neal Bishop and Ned Kelly on The Iron Player.

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