YORK City are going into today's FA Cup tie with Morpeth Town as if it were a league game, striker Kurt Willoughby says.

One game away from the first round proper of the Cup, the only thing standing in the Minstermen's way is lower-league Morpeth.

The Highwaymen sit 19th of 22 teams in the Northern Premier League premier division after an abysmal start from which they are picking up.

But like assistant manager Micky Cummins, Willoughby is wary of taking anything for granted in this fourth round qualifying fixture.

Asked what the team's mindset for the fixture is, he said: "Just prepare as we have done.

"Be professional and go in to it as if it was a league game.

"Prepare well. We've had them watched, we know what their strengths and weaknesses are, so we're prepared.

"Be prepared and get in the hat for the next round.

"There are no easy games in the Cup," he continued. "They will have had to win quite a few games more than us to get to this point.

"They're all good teams. There are banana skins up and down the Cup every round so we've got to be on it, prepare as we would for the league and be ready. It's going to be a tough game.

"We've had them watched. We know what they're like so we know what we're up against.

"When they come to York, they step it up a gear. They see the stadium, we had 3,000 fans there at the last game, and that gives them an extra boost that we have to prepare for."

City's own boost is the prospect of arriving at the stage of the Cup when teams from League One and League Two enter.

Between the 2009/10 and 2015/16 campaigns - as a side playing either in National League or League Two - City had only one season where they did not contest the first round.

In the following years, it has become an ever-longer trail for City to reach the first round, something they have done twice in the last five seasons.

National League North side Chorley stopped York's progress last season at the third qualifying round stage, the year after table-mates Altrincham had done the same in the first round.

While York were returning to league business on Saturday, January 4 last year, Willoughby was getting ready to come on as a 65th-minute substitute at Bramall Lane, where his AFC Fylde side took on erstwhile Premier League side Sheffield United.

"These are the rounds you want to get to," he said. "You can draw a big team. It's good for the club and a good experience for the players.

"I've had a couple of runs myself in the past and played against Premier League teams. You always want to do that again."

York head into the game off the back of a 3-1 win over Southport - the same team they played and beat 2-0 while Willoughby was contesting the third round in 2020 - in National League North last Saturday.

And Willoughby is hoping to build on that win by starting quickly today.

"That's key for us, it sets the pace of the game if we get an early goal. That settles us down and we can pass the ball around," he said. "That's vital in any game really.

"We scored three goals (against Southport) and it could have been more so there's a lot of confidence to be taken from the game.

"We needed to get points back on the board. We did that and it's given us confidence going into Saturday."