DIDCOT Town boss Gary Elkins is determined to recreate the magic of the FA Cup as a manager.
The 46-year-old reached the fifth round of the competition with Wimbledon back in 1993.
But as he prepares to lead the Railwaymen out against Arlesey Town on Saturday, Elkins says that reaching the first round would give him as much joy as the fine run did 19 years ago.
“I am too old to pull on a shirt now, but being a manager is right up there,” he said.
“It gives me just as much pleasure as I got as a player.
“When I was forced to retire, it was very difficult to cope with life without football.
“But this is the most exciting time I have had since I finished playing 12 years ago.”
Didcot have never reached this stage before and victory would see them boost their earnings in this year’s competition to £29,250.
The Railwaymen have won four matches to get to this stage, but are hoping that home advantage can help them to record a fifth success.
Elkins, who took over at the Loop Meadow Stadium in August, played 243 times as a professional before quitting through injury.
But he says the FA Cup has lost none of it’s allure as a manager.
“Everyone has heard all the cliches about the ‘magic of the cup’, but it’s true,” said Elkins.
“Every player has a dream of playing in the final at Wembley. Although I never got there in the FA Cup, I was lucky enough to play there for England Under 18s.”
He added: “I’ve played in the FA Cup a number of times – the furthest I got was with Wimbledon when we got to the fifth round – and loved every minute. “I also played for Swindon where we lost to Everton in the third round. I loved playing in it – and the competition has lost none of its magic. “I can’t wait for the Arlesey game to get started.”