Our Road to Wembley

Graeme Bailey chats with Tamworth manager Marcus Law

FA Cup third round weekend is upon us, which means our Road to Wembley feature returns, and we are now following non-league Tamworth.

Having begun our journey with Blyth Spartans, we have yet to stay with a team for more than one round as they went out to Gateshead in round two before Tamworth booked their place in the third round.

And waiting for Tamworth is a dream tie at Goodison Park as they take on Premier League Everton.

I spoke exclusively to Tamworth boss Marcus Law ahead of their trip to Merseyside.

Embrace

He began by explaining that he had elected to embrace the magic of the cup, saying: "I made a decision that as a club we would take on board everything about the cup.

"That is what the players wanted, so I decided we would go with it and everything that involved, like dealing with the media."

Law, who was appointed manager of Tamworth in the summer after arriving from Kettering Town, admits the cup and everything around it will only benefit his young squad.

Law, having worked with Coventry City and Aston Villa's youth academy during his burgeoning career, is a big believer in youth.

"I have a young, hungry squad - that is what I wanted when I came in, young players who just want to play football and have that dream of being a professional."

Law explained that although officially on a part-time budget, many of his squad are committed to approaching their careers as a professional.

"Our budget has not altered, we have to say that - but as part of my desire for young players - I wanted them to have the desire and they have taken on that dream, they want to be professional footballers and many of them have made sacrifices, like giving up jobs - purely because that is what they want."

The Lambs have never been beyond the third round of the cup and Law admits he is now in uncharted territory.

"I have never been through three rounds ever, indeed on Saturday it is 12 years to the day that I was manager of Coventry Sphinx in the final of the Evening Telegraph cup final, now in just that short time I am set to lead out a team at Goodison Park in the FA Cup third round," he continued.

Ambition

But Law is ambitious and he hopes this weekend is only a sample of things to come, rather than a once in a life-time experience.

"I want to be at this stage again, I hope this is just the first time of many I am here," he said.

"But it is fair to say this will be the biggest experience of my career so far, but I want this to be the first of many occasions, and for the players too."

Tamworth are currently 10th in the Blue Square Premier and a promotion bid is still on their agenda, but he admits there is a chance for his players to stake a claim in the club's history.

"This game is already one of the biggest in the club's career - there is little doubt it is in the club's top-ten games of all time," he said.

"We actually did a heritage day at the club at the start of the year, and I said to the players then I wanted them to become a part of the club's history, and this is the chance.

"Long after we have all left Tamworth, it would be great for them all to be a permanent part of Tamworth's history."