Portsmouth FC v Harrogate Town: Jack Muldoon believes Sulphurites are capable of pulling off FA Cup upset
Jack Muldoon “absolutely” believes that Harrogate Town are capable of pulling off an FA Cup upset on Saturday afternoon.
The League Two Sulphurites travel to Fratton Park to take on League One Portsmouth – winners of the competition as recently as 2008 – for a place in the third round.
Twenty-one rungs on the Football League ladder currently separate the two sides, and Pompey head into the game unbeaten in nine, having won their last six on the bounce.
Thus, the former Premier League outfit will naturally kick-off this weekend’s game as firm favourites, though 32-year-old Town striker Muldoon insists that he and team-mates are not daunted by the task in front of them.
“We can absolutely go there and win,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.
“It’s a massive challenge, but there have been bigger upsets in the FA Cup, so there’s nothing to say that we can’t beat Portsmouth.
“We have to respect them, of course. Just look at the quality in their squad. But, we need to go at them as well. The team we have this season, we know we can hurt them.
“We’re a much better side than we were when we played Portsmouth in 2019, we’re a much better side than we were last season. The players we brought in this summer have really improved us.
“The way I see it maybe playing out is that we’ll need to nick a goal and then be able to defend it. With the players they have, the game can be gone in the blink of an eye, however if we are solid and organised then we’ve got a chance.”
If Town are indeed to turn Pompey over then they will have to negotiate what manager Simon Weaver has predicted will be a "hostile" atmosphere at Fratton Park.
But, the Sulphurites have been better on the road than they have at home in recent weeks, beating Walsall and Carlisle United in their own back yards before drawing 1-1 at Swindon last time out.
That success has in part been down to their ruthlessness on the counter-attack, where the pace of midfield stars Alex Pattison and Jack Diamond in particular has caused opposition defences all sorts of problems.
"We've been lethal on the break at times, it's certainly a strength," added Muldoon.
"It's such a blessing having the likes of Diamond and Patto in our team. How fast they are and the direct way they carry the ball makes them very dangerous.
"When you've got three or four lads able to counter at pace, or the same number of players running into the box all the time then you're going to have chances and you're going to score more goals.
"Last season there might only have been one or two of us getting into those positions, but now we're more effective going forwards."