JASON Matthews urged his Terras’ side to “play without fear” with a spot in the FA Cup first round proper up for grabs at Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow (3pm).

The Weymouth player-manager has guided his side to the fourth qualifying round stage for the second time in three years during his time in charge, and is looking to go one better this time round.

And, while Weymouth are underdogs going into the tie with their National League North opposition, Matthews insists “we don’t want to go there just to make the numbers up”.

Asked what a place in the first round proper in the cup would mean to him, the Terras’ boss told Echosport: “It would just be massive and probably one of my best days in charge.

“The boys are potentially one game away of going to the likes of Bolton or Portsmouth, who were Premier League teams not long ago. There is a lot at stake.

“It’s one of the biggest games we have had for quite a while. Having a spell on the sidelines this season has made me appreciate being Weymouth manager and I have enjoyed it a lot more this season.”

He continued: “I want us to go out there and play without fear. If you go out there and play relaxed it makes a massive difference.”

Matthews also has fond memories of a trip to Aggborough in cup competitions as a player. In January 2008, he saved two penalties in a shoot-out to send his side through to the next stage of the FA Trophy.

He added: “We have drawn a massive club in the Conference North and, for me, it gives us a chance to pit our wits against one of the biggest non-league sides.

“We don’t want to go there just to make the numbers up. We need to go there and take the game to Kidderminster.

“I know they are a very good side and they have got quite a few strengths in their team. They have a lot of pace and have started off very well.

“Having drawn with the leaders in their league last week obviously shows they are a team with goals in them.”

The last time the Terras reached this stage of the competition, they took Braintree Town all the way to an extra-time replay, before crashing out 5-3 away from home.

Six of the squad that featured in that replay are still in the Terras’ set-up, and Matthews insists that factor will stand his side in good stead.

“I have kept the nucleus of the squad for three seasons now and we have gone close,” he added.

“This year, I feel we have a stronger squad and the few additions we have made have been good.

“There is no massive pressure on us at all. We can go there and enjoy the day but to get to the first round of the FA Cup would be unbelievable.”

Weymouth’s Aaron Rodriguez is unavailable for the clash, while Jake Wannell is still struggling to be fit. Chris Shephard has also been for a scan on his hamstring problem and remains a doubt.

Dorset Echo

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