Gateshead FC can pass their Oxford test believes Gary Mills

Gateshead boss Gary Mills is confident his side can progress in the FA Cup tonight by laying waste to Oxford

Gateshead FC manager Gary Mills
Gateshead FC manager Gary Mills

The posts have had a lick of paint, more than 2,500 tickets have been sold and Gary Mills insists Gateshead are ready for their Oxford examination.

The Tynesiders host League Two leaders Oxford United at the International Stadium tonight, in a postponed FA Cup first round replay.

Following a 2-2 draw in the original tie, a replay last week fell victim to torrential rain.

But the BT Sport cameras have returned for live broadcast, and between their financial incentive (they are also due to televise the victors’ trip to Wrexham in the second round) and FA prize money, as much as £90,000 is riding on this evening’s clash.

Tynesiders boss Mills said: “It’s going to be a good night for the football club but we want to win the game, that’s why we’re here.

“We know what comes next, we know we go to Wrexham if we win on Thursday night and we’ll also know who we might have in the third round when the draw takes place on Sunday. So it’s a massive, massive week for us. It’s a lot of cup football.

“We already know we’ve got a journey down to (Conference South side) Eastleigh in the next round of the FA Trophy a week on Saturday.

“It was good to get through the first round last Saturday (against Hednesford Town). You go into the first round of the Trophy and it’s the mental side that’s important.

“I’ve been there as a manager, where I’ve maybe made a couple of changes at times, to give players minutes and I’ve learned over the years that that doesn’t work.

“We’ve been on a good run and we’ve sort of played the same XI, which you tend to do if you’re winning games.

“We’ve been doing that, so to get through to the next round is fantastic.

“Performance-wise, we could have been better but when you take everything into consideration, if you’re moaning when you win 4-1 then things must be going well.

“So it’s all good stuff, it’s all exciting. We’ve got to remain positive that we can go and win every one of these games.”

Mills and assistant manager Darren Caskey planned meticulously for the original replay, and were disappointed to see it postponed.

But Gateshead remain in fine form, and Mills continues to be upbeat about his side’s chances of success. “It was difficult when the original tie was postponed, because we were confident, we were ready for it,” he said.

“You prepare all week, you prepare on the day and even though it was raining when I arrived at the ground that evening, not for one minute did I think the game was going to be called off. It was, then it all changes. You have a long journey down to Dartford, we prepared right for that and got a great result.

“That could have affected us. It was a weird week, to be honest.

“I said to the players down there last Friday, that we had to be switched on because we’d done things slightly differently, and the mindset was slightly different.

“But every obstacle that’s being put in front of us, that’s there to test us, we’re coming through.

“I’ve got a full squad to pick from, we’re ready but what’s important is that we don’t get over-excited by the cameras, the TV. We’ve got a point to prove again, like we did down at Oxford, that we’re capable of beating them.”

Supporters without advance tickets can pay at the gate via turnstile nine in the East Stand.

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