Scottish Cup tie provides platform for Alloa players to show what they can do, says Jim Goodwin

Alloa Athletic gaffer Jim Goodwin has been involved in a few cup-shocks over the years, with the former Celtic youngster knowing what it takes to win through as the underdog. The Clackmannanshire club have the perfect opportunity on Saturday against Dundee United to show they are more than good enough to compete at a higher level.

The former St Mirren midfielder is looking forward to facing the Arabs this Saturday.

“It gives us a wee break from the league, against a very difficult opposition who are flying high in the league above. We are going to need to be at our best, if we are going to do anything and progress to the next round. We have been on a great run the past 2 or 3 months – we have only lost 3 games in that time. Confidence is very high within the group, so, the players are very excited about this game and are looking forward to testing themselves against players from the league above. Nobody will give us a chance on the day – we will be huge underdogs.

However, we have a belief within the squad that we can cause an upset, if we do things properly and apply ourselves well. Anything can happen in the cup – if we play as well as we can, and Dundee United don’t apply themselves as professionally as they should do, then, there is an opportunity for us. If they come out all guns blazing and all their top players play at the top level, then it will be a difficult afternoon for us. We need to believe in ourselves, though, or there is no point in turning up on the day. There is no doubt Dundee United have better individuals than us and everyone will expect them to win but I don’t buy into any of that – I feel it is about what happens on the day.”

The Wasps have faced full-time sides in League One this campaign, but, Goodwin believes this tie will be a completely different test for his men.

“I’m not sure if playing Raith and Ayr matters that much, coming into Saturday. What I do know is that my players are really looking forward to the match; we have got 1 or 2 injury concerns at the moment, which we hope will clear up, but, if they don’t, it is a chance for others to step up. It is about getting the game-plan properly: we need to set ourselves up well, as, I really believe we have players in the attacking areas which can cause them issues. We need to be solid defensively as a whole team, not just the back four and the goalkeeper. We need to be organised and concentrated for the whole 90 minutes, if we can do that then we will see where it takes us.”

With the good form the 4th placed side in League One are currently in, the 36-year-old feels momentum can be built by winning this tie.

“No doubt, there’ll be a good crowd there. I am sure Dundee United will bring big numbers – it’ll probably be a full-house. I just want the players to go out there and show people what they are really capable of. I see them all the time in training and especially in recent weeks, they have shown what they can do against teams in our own league. Both Raith and Ayr have needed last-minute goals against us to get results, so, we know we are capable of competing against them, which gives us confidence as we know if we can get it right on Saturday then we will be in with a good shout.

I think as managers and players, and even as a club, you want to go prove yourself at the highest level. The Scottish Cup gives us a platform to go do that on Saturday; we have a great set-up here at Alloa. It is a very well-run club, off the park, and we all try to replicate that on the pitch. We have a lot of young players in our squad and this weekend gives them a chance to potentially prove themselves. I also have a lot of experienced boys who want to prove that, if we live up to what we want to do and get promoted, that they are capable of going to the next level as well. It is a great opportunity for the players to put their name out there and try get noticed.”

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