LIKE many York fans, defender Tom Allan had no idea where Irlam was before they were drawn against City in this weekend’s FA Cup tie.

Irlam have never been higher than the ninth tier, in which they currently reside, in the North West Counties League premier division.

Saturday’s fixture against York will “without doubt the the greatest fixture in our club’s history” of 50 years, according to the club’s website.

The game has been chosen for coverage on the BBC iPlayer, one would have thought, for the potential of an upset win for Irlam over the highest ranked side currently in the competition at the second qualifying round stage.

For York and Allan, the preparation is the same as for any other game.

“ I think we’re the highest ranked team at this stage of the competition and they’re one of the lowest,” said Allan.

“They’ll be looking for a classic FA Cup shock. But we’re going there with one things on our mind - to win and book our place in the hat for the next round.

“To be fair, when the FA Cup draw was made and I saw that we had Irlam, I didn’t even know where it was.

“But, we’re just treating this as any other normal Saturday, the same as a game in the league. We’ll turn up and hopefully get the win.

“I think it’s very important that we get off to a good start. Sometimes there might be a few nerves when you’re going away to a lower league team.

“They’ve got the underdog status and they’ve got nothing to lose, so they may well go all out attack.

“Whereas we’re meant to win the game. If we could get an early goal to settle things down, that would be great for ourselves.”

Manager Steve Watson is expected to make several changes to his side, with Allan - fresh from the expiration of his loan spell at Farsley Celtic - one such player that could return to the starting 11.

“I’d say it was a successful loan spell,” said the centre half of his time away from York.

“I thought that Farsley did very well in the league in the month that I was there. They’ve climbed up the league table and they’re in the play-off spots at the moment.

“I was still training with York during the week in that full-time environment and then to have the regular game time at Farsley, I had the best of both worlds.

“York have had a good run at the start of the season, we’ve not conceded many goals and hopefully I can force my way back into the side now I’m back.”

Allan was a regular for York throughout pre-season but found himself behind Steve McNulty, Joe Tait and Sean Newton for the league season’s opener at Altrincham.

His loan move to Farsley was the only way that he could be guaranteed regular game time.

“It was frustrating to not be involved at the start of the season, having played a lot during pre-season,” added Allan.

“But, the gaffer went with his team. I didn’t want to be sat around doing nothing so I’ve gone out and got some game time.

“I’ve kept myself fit too and hopefully, now that I’m back, I feel sharp, sharper than I was previously and hopefully I can force my way in.

“It will be difficult to cement my place. But, if I get picked on Saturday, the plan is to go there, win the game and hopefully cement my place for next weekend’s nice clash against King’s Lynn.

“It’s not going to be easy, though.”