Captain Ian Henderson says he has been “obsessed” with the FA Cup since he was a child.
As Rochdale prepare face to Bromley in the first round this Saturday, Hendo has been reflecting on one of his earliest memories of the competition.
“There’s a magic to the FA Cup,” said Henderson.
“I can remember one game from when I was a kid growing up – it was a final between Liverpool and Manchester United, and Cantona scored that goal from the edge of the box.
“Ever since then , I’ve been obsessed with the FA Cup and wanting to go as far as I can in it. I’m excited by it and I know all the players are as well, because straight after the Plymouth game we were like ‘it’s FA Cup next weekend’. It creates an atmosphere and a buzz around the place – I don’t know what it is, but it’s got some magnet to it.”
The 2017/18 season marks the 100th time that Dale will compete in the FA Cup. The last few years have brought success in the competition, with Keith Hill’s side having reached the fourth round in three out of the last four years.
While Hendo is keen to emulate those successes, he recognises that hard-work is going to be key.
“When you look back over the last few years and reflect on the runs we’ve had in the FA Cup, then it has been magical for the football club. The year we beat Leeds United at the Crown Oil Arena stands out for me. To have won the game and scored in the victory was amazing, as was having had the likes of Scotty Hogan, who has gone to have an unbelievable career for himself, involved and scoring as well.
“We’re going to try and emulate that [type of success] again and give it our best shot.
“Bromley have earned the right to be in this round with us so we’ve got to get our heads down and work hard, as we go out there to try to get a result on Saturday.”