Why Ellis Harrison's non-league days at Bristol Rovers means he's not underestimating Portsmouth's FA Cup tie at Harrogate
It was only five years ago when Ellis Harrison was plying his trade in non-league football.
And that’s why the striker stressed Pompey won’t be underestimating National League outfit Harrogate Town in the FA Cup first round tomorrow night (7.45pm).
The Wetherby Road side sit two divisions and 44 places below the Blues in the pyramid.
Undoubtedly, Kenny Jackett’s side are firm favourites to reach the second stage of the competition.
But having had a grounding outside the Football League himself, Harrison is well are that Simon Weaver’s men will have the quality to pull off a potential upset.
During the 2014-15 season, Harrison helped Bristol Rovers achieve promotion back into League Two.
The summer arrival from Ipswich is one of several Blues players who have honed their craft in non-league at some stage of the careers.
And Harrison is expecting Harrogate to ‘graft and grind’ as the visitors look to avoid a banana skin.
He said: ‘I am expecting them to graft and to grind. At Bristol Rovers, we didn’t have the best team in the league but had the togetherness and grit to go out and beat teams.
‘We did that for two years. Although we weren’t the best team in the Conference or League Two, we won two promotions.
‘In the Cup, anything can happen and you haven’t got a clue what’s around the corner.
‘We will go there with the same game plan and try to get through to the next round.
‘No-one who has played in non-league forgets where they’ve come from.
‘We won’t go there and disrespect the lads who play for Harrogate because a lot of us four or five years ago were in the same league.
‘We can’t go there and turn our noses up, which we wouldn’t do anyway.
‘If we were winning 7-0 at half-time then we keep going but then you could go there and be 7-0 down because it’s a game of football and things might not go for you on the day.
‘We’ve got to go there with the same mindset as usual.’
Pompey will have to negate the 3G pitch at Wetherby Road.
While it’s a surface the Blues aren’t used to, Harrison refuses to use it as an excuse.
He added: ‘It doesn’t make much of a difference.
‘If I thought they had an advantage then it’d be an excuse and we can’t go into any game with an excuse before the game.’