Cooper: We'll deflect heat off ref

Met Police boss Jim Cooper has joked that the referee might not be the most unpopular figure on view when his side host Crawley on Saturday.

Last Updated: 02/11/12 at 16:45

FA Cup: First round proper this weekend

FA Cup: First round proper this weekend

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Many, but not all, of those who play for the Ryman League club serve in the force.

Cooper admits his side are regularly on the receiving end of police-related abuse at their matches but the Detective Sergeant insists they take it all in their stride.

"You can't rise to it because at the end of the day you are representing the Met Police," said Cooper ahead of the FA Cup first-round clash.

"Who is going to support us? They [fans] would much rather give us stick. But it's water off a duck's back for us, something we're used to on the job every day.

"Perhaps people assuming we are all Old Bill will take some of the heat off the poor ref."

Asked if the visit of Crawley to the Imber Court ground in Surrey might produce some positive headlines, Cooper simply responded: "Let's hope so."

Tomorrow's game will be arguably the biggest in the 93-year history of the Met Police.

It is only their fourth appearance at this stage of the competition and their first tie against a Football League club since losing 9-0 to Northampton in 1931.

The Met Police are one of 22 non-league sides looking to cause a cup upset this weekend.

Minnows do not come much smaller than Yate Town. The side bottom of the Division One South and West of the Evo-Stik Southern League are the lowest-ranked club remaining in the competition and travel to Cheltenham.

Mark Yates' League Two promotion chasers are 111 places above Yate but the Robins boss is not taking them lightly.

"We played Tottenham in the third round last year and we would love another cup run," said Yates.

"We are taking it seriously and the team will be as strong as I can get it."

Also refusing to underestimate the underdogs is Doncaster boss Dean Saunders, whose side host Blue Square Bet North neighbours Bradford Park Avenue.

"We can make it an easy afternoon or a difficult afternoon, depending on our mentality," said the Welshman.

"I've been in football too long to know that if you don't have the right attitude in games like this then it can go wrong."

Meanwhile, Arlesey manager Zema Abbey has described his Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division side's trip to Coventry as "a typical David and Goliath scenario."

Other potential giantkillings include Colchester's trip to Chelmsford and the derby between Hereford and Shrewsbury at Edgar Street.

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