'If you don't believe you're going to get something there's no point in turning up' - Hawks captain Joe Oastler relishing chance to lock horns with League One heavyweights Charlton

Captain Joe Oastler says Hawks should fear nothing as they bid to spring a huge FA Cup shock at League One Charlton on Saturday.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 3:57 pm
Hawks captain Joe Oastler. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks captain Joe Oastler. Picture: Dave Haines

The National League South underdogs head to south-east London to face an Addicks team full of confidence having gained seven points from a possible nine in the third tier under caretaker boss Johnnie Jackson ahead of the meeting.

Since sacking former boss Nigel Adkins last month, Charlton legend Jackson has rejuvenated the ex-Premier League outfit in his interim managerial role.

On the back of wins over Sunderland and Doncaster as well as a draw against Rochdale, many would argue there couldn't be a worse time to make a trip to The Valley with a view to a giant-killing.

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But Oastler is not of that opinion and is relishing going toe to toe with the League One heavyweights.

There might be three divisions between the teams and 65 places in the football pyramid, yet the Hawks skipper insists the whole squad are heading to Charlton believing they could pull off the unthinkable.

Oastler said: ‘We’re going there, you’re almost rubbing your hands together, we’ve got nothing to lose.

‘If you don’t believe you’re going to go there and get something or you can get something then there’s no point turning up.

‘There’s a difference between enjoying the day, we want to enjoy it, but we want to get something out of the game.

‘We’re not just going there thinking we’ve got nothing to lose because we have.

‘The longer the game goes on, if we’re drawing we’re in the game, there’s a chance of a replay or nicking a win.

‘You ask any player in the Conference South, you fancy yourself against these players. If you don’t than there’s no point in turning up.

‘There’s a massive gap, we’ve got to pay them respect, they’re League One footballers, but I don’t think we can pay them too much (respect). We’ve got to go there and put our authority on the game as well.’

Oastler and his current club know just what it takes to pull off an FA Cup upset. Only last season, Oastler was part of the sixth-tier Oxford City team who defeated League One Northampton Town in a televised first round proper tie.

Meanwhile, Hawks remarkable run to face Liverpool at Anfield under Shaun Gale in 2008, beating Football League clubs Swansea and Notts County along the way is one of the great FA Cup fairytale stories.

And Oastler believes the gap in quality between players now higher up the non-league chain and those operating as professionals in the EFL is decreasing all the time.

He said: ‘All you hope for when you go to these places is you give a good account of yourself, hopefully, the longer the game goes on and we’re still in it then we’ve always got a chance.

‘It’s important we go there and start brightly and not be sloppy in the first 15-20 minutes where you’d imagine they’ll be quite lively.

‘I think when you speak to any non-league footballer, they relish going up to places like that.

‘To be honest, I don’t think the gap between National South and League One is as big as what it used to be.

‘You used to look at it and it would be like a foregone conclusion, but there are players dropping down to our league now who have played that level.

‘Obviously there is a gap, but it’s not as big as what it used to be, we’re going there believing we can cause them problems. Hopefully we can keep it out one end and put it in the other.’