Darren Randolph is delighted with Stockport County’s return to the FA Cup third round
Darren Randolph will not fear the draw in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup next Monday in Stockport County.
The West Ham United goalkeeper has already played at Edgeley Park and helped Bury to a 2-1 second division win against the Hatters in February 2008.
Then, just 20 years old and on loan from Charlton Athletic, Randolph stood behind a defense led by Long Throw King Dave Challinor and bandana-wearing Efe Sodje to defeat a Stockport team that included a young Ashley Williams and which was administered by the same man who will lead it against the Hammers on Monday night, Jim Gannon.
Almost 13 years later, Randolph is a very experienced 33-year-old with more than 450 appearances for the senior team and 50 caps for the Republic of Ireland.
We see excitement and shocking results every year and we don’t want to be one of them on the receiving end
“It’s a draw in the FA Cup and I’m looking forward to playing at Stockport again as I haven’t been there in a long time and on loan for Bury!” he smiled. “I don’t really remember the score, but I do remember it was on the same site that Sale was playing rugby.
“I’ve played against non-league teams so I know getting through by any means will not be an easy task. I played for Charlton in Northwich Victoria as a youngster and was also on the bench for Birmingham at Blyth Spartans.
“I’ve been on the other side too, playing for the smaller team, so I know it’s a one-off game and it’s not difficult for a team to improve their game in an FA Cup tie. We see excitement and shocking results every year, and we don’t want to be one of them on the receiving end. “
While Randolph knows it would be stupid to stop by a Stockport team that ranks high in the National League, he also knows that West Ham has the option of making the fourth round and, if all goes according to plan, the way hits Wembley.
Five seasons ago, he and his Hammers teammates were only seven minutes away from reaching the semifinals, only for a controversial Anthony Martial equalizer that secured Manchester United a replay, which they won 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground.
The memory of those relationships and especially Bastian Schweinsteiger’s challenge that enabled Martial to score at Old Trafford still burns in Randolph’s head and serves as a motivation to get even better, at least this season.
“It would be nice to just do another run like we did when we reached the quarter-finals in 2016, and I still think about those games a lot,” he recalls.
“If the luck of the draw is on your side and you beat the teams you were meant for, who are in front of you, you can find yourself in the quarter-finals and then it can be the other way around and we would be the underdogs, but it’s just a game and you. You can do it.” can get through. “