BLYTH Spartans manager Harry Dunn insists he is just like Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce – even if he does have two jobs to worry about.
Two successive defeats to Gateshead have left Blyth in relegation trouble in the Conference North and, despite his team’s heroics in the FA Cup, Dunn knows he is under pressure at Croft Park.
But those worries will be forgotten this evening when Rovers visit the Northumberland town.
And, while Allardyce may have been on the FA’s shortlist to replace Sven Goran Eriksson as England manager two years ago, Dunn will not be in awe of him or his side.
He said: “Sam will have his team, I’ve got mine. We’ll shake hands before the game and speak afterwards.
“We want Blackburn to come and enjoy everything apart from the 90 minutes of football. We want them to go away thinking it’s a lovely little club. We will treat them with utmost respect but we won’t be rolling out the red carpet.
“We are both in charge of football clubs, we’re both judged on results and we both have jobs to do.”
As a player with Bishop Auckland, Dunn once played against Sir Bobby Charlton in the FA Cup when he was player-manager of Preston North End, but this is the biggest game of the 55-year-old mental health worker’s managerial career.
He knows Blackburn are capable of handing out a thrashing, but he is more concerned that his players are able to get to the ground on time.
He said: “I’ll be at work as normal. I work in a children’s respite home for Durham County Council as a caretaker.
“When I see the kids that we look after it makes me realise that everyone connected with Blyth Spartans is lucky because we have some kids there who are disabled mentally and physically. There’s been a lot of build-up to the FA Cup but going into work on Monday morning doesn’t half bring you down to earth.
“I’ll be there till 2pm and then go home, get washed and changed and head up to our ground at about 5.30pm. One or two of the lads might struggle to get there in time like they did against Bournemouth in the replay. It depends on the traffic.
“We have two players coming from Scarborough, two from Leeds and three from Middlesbrough, so there’s a long way to travel for a few on roads that can get very busy. So they’ll have to leave work earlier than normal.
“We’ve had lads still getting changed in the dressing room because of the traffic problems. I’m sure Sam Allardyce will have the same problems!’’