While the rest of the world will be watching on for our televised FA Cup game against Carlisle, Gavin Rose is doing his best to keep his squad grounded and focused on the matter at hand.
“It's a one-off. It's an opportunity to make history, to create some memories. It's not a day for caution really I think,” Rose says. “We've been preparing as normal to be quite honest with you. Nothing really big has changed in terms of how we prepare for games but with the mentality of ‘Look - it's a one-off’. Let's try and win the game.”
Rose was also keen to stress that while he is relishing the prospect of facing a Football League side, first and foremost the game was an opportunity to showcase the club and its values.
“I think the game is really good for the club. Everyone knows about the off-the-field stuff that's gone on and a lot of the community stuck together with the club, the club's stuck together and this is almost like a 'thank you', saying that it was worth sticking together for.”
“We get an opportunity to be on national TV, which will be shown all over the world as well. I think that's sort of like a great thank you, in a sense, for all the support and work that the supporters have put in over the years really.”
“The club's got a lot going for it in terms of on-the-field and off-the-field, in terms of the uniqueness, in terms of our fanbase as well, and our culture. I think if we can show that and just be ourselves, it would be great to show everyone how we see football really.”
Recent League form has been an issue, but Rose backed his squad to rose to the occasion and put on a performance on Friday night. Speaking of the mood in the dressing room, he said, “It seems a good one, it seems one where I think they want to seize the opportunity in fairness. It's weird because we're not performing as well as we'd like in the League in terms of results, just that little bit rub of the green isn't going our way or a little bit of quality we're lacking at times.”
He also touched on the last League game, a 3-1 defeat at home to Bath City. “It's no disgrace losing to a Bath team. I think for me last year, they were probably one of the best teams we played. I thought they were good on Saturday, I thought we caused them problems up until the last third, which is something that we can work on.”
“They felt that we're the best team we've played this season and I think we're very close to getting the last bit right in the League, we're not a million miles away but invariably, it is a results business and we need to get the balance of performing well and getting the results consistently. It's something we're aware of. It may well be slight tweaks in formation, slight tweaks in personnel. We know we're not that far away.”
Turning his attention to tomorrow’s opponents Carlisle, Rose said, “They're obviously quite experienced in terms of personnel. They're League players - they're full time, it's their job, it's their profession, and they have an experienced manager.”
He added that the big game occasion could play to Dulwich’s advantage. “I don't know if they want to come to Dulwich Hamlet on a Friday night. It's a fair travel. It's a tight ground and it's going to be packed, it's on telly. For them, I think that's quite nervy and we've got to play on that as much as we can. If we play on that to a good degree, then I think we give ourselves a chance of staying in the tie and maybe even doing well to go on further.”
Finally, touching on the magnitude of the game itself, Rose said, “It's great for everyone else, great for the younger generation seeing Dulwich Hamlet like this. We want them to become used to this stuff, which is great.”
“I've not spoken about it with the players, the players would be scared to speak to me about it because I want them to think about the football and they all know that for tomorrow, all I'm expecting for them is to go out there and do themselves and the club proud. I wouldn't want them to go out there and worry about all the lights and the TV and then they don't do themselves justice, for themselves personally and also for the football club. So that's what I expect and I think the fans should expect them to go out there and really try their utmost best.”
A reminder that tomorrow night’s game is SOLD OUT and all-ticket. Gates will open from 5pm and kick off is at 7.55pm.