THERE could be an FA Cup upset at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday, according to former Bolton Wanderers assistant manager and York City full-back Chris Evans.
While admitting that Premier League Bolton will be odds-on favourites to progress past City in the third round tie, Evans believes if the non-League Minstermen can “get in the faces” of their hosts then anything is possible.
Having been a member of the City team that dumped Arsenal out of the competition back in 1985, Evans feels such past results prove that Gary Mills’ men can travel to Lancashire with the hope of pulling off a famous victory.
Evans, who parted company with Bolton last January following a brief spell in caretaker charge after Gary Megson’s dismissal, said: “When I first went to York, they were near the bottom of the fourth division, which is not that far off the Conference but we went on to momentous occasions against Arsenal and Liverpool that have gone down in the annals of FA Cup history.
“We had a never-say-die attitude and didn’t think anybody could beat us. Everything’s possible on Saturday and it’s York’s big Cup final.
“They can go and enjoy a terrific day out and hope to pull off a big upset because Bolton are on a hiding to nothing as they are expected to do well.
“That can lead to complacency and that’s when you get upsets.
“The odds might be stacked against York but history shows any team can cause an upset.
“They will need to roll up their sleeves though and make sure they don’t concede an early goal because then it can be an uphill battle.
“Non-League teams cannot match a Premier League side’s quality but they can match their desire, belief and adrenalin. York will need to get in their faces and have a right go. There will be 11 confrontations and, if they win more of those battles than they lose, then they can come out with something.”
City led against Stoke City at the same stage last season when Neil Barrett headed in from a free-kick.
The Minstermen eventually went down 3-1 but Evans believes set-pieces could be the best opportunity of the visitors snatching Cup glory in this weekend’s tie, citing target man Michael Rankine as a potential threat.
He added: “All teams are always in with a shout at 0-0 because, if you win a corner or a free-kick, that’s a free punt into the penalty box and, with somebody, like Michael Rankine, who is big, strong and a handful, that can upset people.”
With City having sold 4,000 tickets for Saturday’s clash, Evans also believes such a strong travelling army of supporters could play a crucial role in an environment that is expected to be less hostile or partisan than Stoke’s Britannia Stadium last season.
He said: “I know how many fans York took to Darlington and how vocal they are away from home and that could be a key factor. If they take more than 4,000 to the Reebok then that could give them a 12th man and York will need that.
“The Reebok Stadiun is a terrific stadium and the club and their fans will be treated very well. They will be playing on a first-class pitch in a good atmosphere and the players can thrive on that.”