Dickov relishing facing his hero

PA Sport
Paul Dickov
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Paul Dickov

Oldham manager Paul Dickov hopes his players do not suffer stage fright when they encounter Kenny Dalglish on Friday night.

The npower League One side travel to Merseyside in the third round of the FA Cup to face Dalglish's Liverpool in pursuit of a huge upset. Dalglish's handling of the Luis Suarez affair has put the Anfield club under particular scrutiny of late.

Yet former Arsenal and Manchester City forward Dickov would prefer to look with relish upon the prospect of pitting his wits against a boyhood idol who once left him speechless in his formative years. He said: "For any youngster growing up in Scotland of my age, Kenny was a big hero."

He added: "I met him when I was a young kid at Arsenal. I was only 16 years old and shook his hand and couldn't talk to him. I was that in awe.

"I had videos and videos of him when he was at Celtic and Liverpool, and obviously with Scotland as well. It's going to be a proud moment for me to stand on the same touchline as him. His record as a player and as a manager is second to none."

That any squad rotation from Dalglish could result in starts for Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy only serves to underline the scale of the task in hand for an Oldham side currently contesting their 15th consecutive season in English football's third tier.

Veteran striker Shefki Kuqi is the only Latics player with any experience of an Anfield atmosphere and 23-year-old midfielder Dean Furman will captain a largely youthful line-up attempting to emulate the club's famous third-round victories against Manchester City and Everton over the past decade.

Liverpool also bear the scars of exits at the hands of Barnsley and Reading in recent years, along with last season's penalty shoot-out defeat to Northampton in the Carling Cup - uncomfortable memories Furman and his team-mates hope to evoke.

"That's the great thing about football and that's what they call it the magic of the FA Cup," Furman told Press Association Sport. "Knowing the gaffer, we'll set up in a way that will try and win the game. We won't be lying down.

"Obviously we're going to be under pressure, they're a great side with great players, but we'll be looking to nick a victory. Who knows? On the night it's 11 men versus 11 men."

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