Defender Harvey Rodgers feels there is every chance Accrington can inflict another FA Cup giant-killing on Leeds – something, as a fan of the club, he knows about all too well.
The Premier League side travel to League One Stanley on Saturday for a fourth-round lunchtime kick-off.
And Selby native Rodgers, who has been going to watch Leeds since he was a child, is relishing the occasion.
The 26-year-old told the PA news agency: “By far it will be the biggest game of my career.
“Where I’m from, it’s like a town full of Leeds fans, so I’ve had a lot of messages and stuff already wishing me luck, but lots have said don’t play too well! It will be a big day for my family as well, my friends are coming to watch, so it’s a massive game for me.”
Shocks that Leeds have been on the wrong end of in the competition include defeats to Crawley in 2021, Newport in 2018, Sutton in 2017, Rochdale in 2014 and Histon in 2008.
And Rodgers said: “I think we’ve got a belief we can give them a good game, and I think we can.
“Being a Leeds fan I know there’s been a few upsets over the years against them from lower league teams, so it’s definitely doable. I think keep the game tight and we’ll cause them problems from set-pieces, long throw-ins, stuff like that. I think we have a good chance.”
Rodgers was watching on television when Leeds, as a League One side themselves, pulled off a huge FA Cup upset in 2010 by winning 1-0 at Manchester United.
He first went to see the team live in 2004, just after their relegation from the top flight, when they beat QPR 6-1 with Brian Deane scoring four times.
“With playing football, I couldn’t go every week, but I’d go when I could, and I still go when I can,” said Rodgers, who looked up to former Leeds captain Lucas Radebe as a child.
“I managed to get to a couple of games the season they went up (to the Premier League, 2019-20), and I went to the parade. So I’d still say I’m quite a big Leeds fan!”
Accrington had been scheduled to play their third-round replay against Boreham Wood on January 17 and Rodgers had tickets for Leeds’ replay against Cardiff the following night, but after Stanley’s match was postponed, he opted not to go because he thought he might “jinx” things.
With Jesse Marsch’s men winning 5-2, and Accrington then getting past Boreham Wood 1-0 after extra-time six days later, the tie Rodgers so hoped for was confirmed.
And when asked what his dream scenario would be on Saturday, he said: “I think I’d take me scoring the winner!
“But it would be nice to play at Elland Road (in a replay). I played there in an Under-23s match, but obviously that’s nothing compared to it being packed full. So it would be nice to get the draw and be able to play there.”
Accrington, whose boss John Coleman has been in charge at the club for more than 20 years across two spells, are bidding to make the fifth round for the first time in their history.
Midfielder Sean McConville’s 300-plus appearance career with the club has included playing Premier League opposition in round four before, and beating Burnley in the League Cup.
The 33-year-old said: “Premier League players on the fortunes that they are, sometimes they can come to little grounds, the birds aren’t singing and the sun isn’t out, and they can be found wanting, because you have hungry League One players who want to progress.
“I’ve been part of some massive milestones at this club, but to get to the fifth round would be right up there.”