YORK Acorn ARLC boss Scott Rhodes insists all the pressure will be on York City Knights in tomorrow's big derby - whereas his side will be loving every minute of it.
The Challenge Cup third round tie at Bootham Crescent, which doubles up the Knights' long-awaited first competitive game back in the city centre, will be the biggest match in the lives of many of the Blue and Golds' players.
But Rhodes wants his side - who proved their mettle when coming from behind to win the National Conference League division one play-off final last autumn - to enjoy the occasion too much to become overawed by any pressure of performing in front of a bumper crowd.
"There will be a lot of support there - a lot more than we're used to - and a lot of families and friends," said Rhodes, himself a former Knights captain and Scotland international stand-off.
"It will be an emotional day, and we've got to perform and give a good account of ourselves.
"But the pressure is all on York. They're expected to win, probably by a big margin.
"For us it's a case of let's go out and enjoy it. Let's enjoy the game, let's enjoy the crowd, the occasion.
"It's a taste of being a professional player for our lads, playing in front of a big crowd on a good pitch in a good stadium - so I'm saying to go out and express yourself and most importantly enjoy it.
"It's important to me that we give a good account of ourselves and earn respect. But my players are amateurs - they do this for nothing - so they also need to enjoy it."
A number of the Acorn players, such as Tim Stubbs, Elliott Bulmer and Ryan Gallacher, have had spells in the Knights youth ranks and reserves and, asked if they had a point to prove to the pro club, Rhodes said: "I think every player has a point to prove in every match.
"Players will be going out there to win, there's no doubt about that.
"Our chances? If we win I will retire!
"We know where we are. We know we're playing a very good League One side, one of the favourites to win that league, who are coached very well.
"I've been looking at their videos. Against Hunslet (last week), they were a very aggressive outfit and quick on the fringes.
"It will be very tough, but we're going to give it our best shot and we'll see what happens."
The National Conference League amateurs have reportedly sold more than 750 tickets alone, and that doesn't include the many more fans of both clubs - plus neutrals - who will be paying on the day.
Knights boss James Ford reckons most in the crowd would love an upset, and Rhodes said: "I think that happens in most sports - everybody loves an underdog.
"York are taking it seriously and we have to as well.
"It's David versus Goliath. If we were to win this it would be a massive, massive shock."
Ironically, Acorn faced off with the Knights a month ago in a training match - preparation that helped the Blue and Golds beat Sharlston Rovers in round one. They then beat Cumbrian champions to reach round three, at which point League One clubs enter.
Rhodes is now looking back to that run-out at the Knights' training ground to figure out a way to topple them.
"James Ford is doing a fantastic job at York," he said. "We know more about what we're up against after that training match. We got opened up quite easily at times.
"But that's given me a little look at their patterns of play and I took things away from that. Whether I can come up with something to combat that remains to be seen but we've been working hard on the training field to give our lads as good a chance as possible."
Acorn (probable): Calam, Johnson, Gallacher, Myers, Thompson, Budd, A Chilton, North, Speck, Porter, Bulmer, Hill, Mortimer. Subs: Stubbs, Byrnes, Bromwich, Rushworth. Stand-by: M Chilton, Barber, Mountford.