AFC Wimbledon will seek to defy another club that has made impressive progress through non league in tonight's Emirates FA Cup tie at Haringey Borough.
Our remarkable rise since 2002 has rightly been hailed as one of the greatest stories in football, but the North London club have also been revitalised in recent times with manager Tom Loizou having guided Haringey from the Essex Senior League to the Bostik Premier League. As well as those two promotions, Haringey also reached the FA Trophy First Round proper last season and they were only just edged out 2-1 by Leyton Orient.
Tonight's match will be the first time that Haringey have featured in the first round of the FA Cup and Neal Ardley expects a spirited challenge from a club four levels below. However, our manager hopes that his side's midweek goalscoring exploits – Wimbledon struck four in the Checkatrade Trophy against Stevenage – is a sign that the team can start hitting the back of the net more regularly.
Wimbledon's last victory against non league opposition was a particularly dramatic one against Curzon Ashton and the picture above shows Dons supporters celebrating the 4-3 victory, which was achieved after coming back from 3-0 down.
Below are quotes from both managers, and a focus on Haringey Borough, plus a reminder about ticket collection and how to get to Coles Park.
"We got a great result on Tuesday and now we've got to recover a group of boys, while getting ourselves as prepared as we can for the next game and the elements that come with that. As a manager when you've done it so often you just have to find the balance of the information you give and the recovery work you do, and make sure they are fresh enough to do themselves justice on Friday night.
"It was one day, one set of games on Tuesday (the development squad also struck four goals at Portsmouth). We've tried hard over the last few weeks because we obviously know that (lack of goals) has been an issue. We've worked really hard on it, we collect all the stats: the numbers, the targets we hit, and the crosses we supply. We're putting more pressure on the boys to come up with the numbers that will give us the goals. They responded well on Tuesday, we've been working on it for a number of weeks. Is it the start of something? I hope so, we need it, but we need to start doing it regularly to believe that it's going to be.
"Any team that gets to the first round has earned it because it's a long process. With the money that can be involved, it's a fantastic competition. For us to get through two rounds and get the Tottenham and Liverpool ties, they have been big deals for us in the past. We will pay Haringey the utmost respect, we have to. There is only one reason that the TV cameras are there – they are looking for the magic of the FA Cup and an upset. We had it in the past. We need to have the character, focus, and desire, all those qualities to stand up to what we're going to be, which is the favourites."
"They're FA Cup winners, as far as I'm concerned. They are the real and true Wimbledon FC, who played at Plough Lane with the 'Crazy Gang'. For someone who's just made history and qualified for the first round proper for the first time, to play someone like Wimbledon and be in that sort of company, it's unbelievable. It could not have been a better draw.
"Four years ago we were getting 20 supporters, so the chairman said we'll give everyone a free ticket and hopefully they buy a drink or a burger or something. All of a sudden, we were getting 300 or 350 and that's doubled in the last two weeks. When they all come on Friday night we'll probably have to give away another 2,000 season tickets. Three years ago you said Haringey Borough and people said, 'Who?' Now everyone knows us.
"The players are only human and their eye is on the FA Cup. The league form has dipped a bit but we got a draw with the team who were second in the league (Enfield) at the weekend because I told them anyone who doesn't perform won't be playing on Friday. But everyone's excited. The chairman's running round like a little kid. It's a one-chance-in-a-lifetime. I'm not going to stop that because it's good for the players and good for the club. We're not taking this game lightly. We know they're four levels above us and it's a slim chance, but if we work hard and we get a little bit of luck who knows what might happen."
Focus on Haringey Borough
- The roots of the club go back to 1907 when Tufnell Park FC was formed. Tufnell Park and Wood Green Town merged in 1973, initially under the name of Edmonton & Haringey FC until 1976 when the present name was adopted.
- Haringey Borough play home games at Coles Park, White Hart Lane, on a 3G surface (since 2016).
- Haringey have won five games to reach the first round of the Emirates FA Cup, beating Stanway Rovers, Brentwood Town, Erith Town, AFC Sudbury and Poole Town, along the way.
- Haringey warmed up for their big FA Cup tie by securing a 2-2 draw in their North London derby at Enfield Town on Saturday, thanks to a double from Rakim Richards.
- Manager Tom Loizou has guided the club to two promotions in recent seasons. The first came in 2015 when Haringey won the Essex Senior League, and two years later they earned a 3-1 Ryman Division One Play-Off win against Canvey Island.
- Tonight's cup tie is regarded as the biggest match in Haringey's history. Following the draw, Haringey Chairman Aki Achilea said: "This is the real Wimbledon in my eyes and long may AFC Wimbledon enjoy success on your journey. We have started ours and in the last 10 years have made great progress and now play in the tough Bostik Premier League with a strong community fan base, which we hope will continue to grow."
Form Guide (last six in all competitions, starting with most recent)
Haringey Borough DDDLWL
AFC Wimbledon WLLLLL
Last time out
Enfield Town 2-2 Haringey Borough
AFC Wimbledon 4-0 Stevenage
FA Cup rewind
AFC Wimbledon's last victory against non league opponents turned out to be a memorable match with a 4-3 win at Curzon Ashton. At 3-0 down, the Dons looked to be heading out, until four goals in the last 10 minutes. Tonight's opponents are one level below Curzon Ashton in the non league pyramid. Click on the link below to watch highlights from the victory at Curzon Ashton.
Any tickets ordered after 2.00 pm on Tuesday 6 November will need to be collected tonight at Coles Park Stadium. The collection point is located on the Fenton Road entrance to the ground. Dons fans will be greeted by a few friendly faces from our ticketing and matchday stewarding team.
Haringey Borough's ground address is Coles Park Stadium, White Hart Lane, Tottenham, London N17 7JP. View the map. The entrance is on White Hart Lane, some 500 yards west of White Hart Lane's junction with the Great Cambridge Road (the A10). The ground is opposite the Selco Builders Warehouse. It lies between the junctions with Fenton Road and Rivulet Road.
The nearest underground station is Wood Green on the Piccadilly Line. From there bus W3 (destination Northumberland Park) passes the ground and takes approximately 5 minutes. The nearest rail station is White Hart Lane. Haringey Borough's supporters club have also put together a very useful visitors guide for travelling fans.
FA Cup Screening | Cherry Red Records Stadium
All Dons fans who cannot travel to North London are welcome to pop along to the Cherry Red Records Stadium to watch the game, as we seek to progress to the second round. The Your Golf Travel Bar will be open from 6.00 pm on Friday evening.
Our WDON commentators Mikey T and Rob Cornell will be covering the game live from Coles Park. Visit our iFollow channel to access the coverage.