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Thursday, January 22, 2004
ESPNsoccernet: January 23, 11:45 AM UK
Chelsea's Scarborough fare

Kevin Palmer

It seems that Chelsea are guaranteed a scalding reception when their star-studded team bus pitches up at Scarborough this weekend.

The Stamford Bridge millionaires such as Adrian Mutu, Hernan Crespo, Damien Duff and Marcel Desailly are always likely to choose Mauritius or Dubai ahead of the windswept North East seaside resort for a post season break, so their visit for the FA Cup fourth round tie on Saturday lunchtime was always likely to provide them with a culture shock.

So the news that a bobbly pitch and a set of dressing room showers that feature just one temperature lie in wait for them will doubtless warm their hearts.

'I don't think the Chelsea players will have ever come across showers like ours,' confirms Scarborough's Irish defender Colin Cryan, who is on-loan from Sheffield United.

'This is a great little club and the people have been fantastic to me since I came here so I wouldn't want to slag them off, but I cannot pretend that the showers are anything other than minging.

'They have one temperature - boiling hot. You come out of them with dry skin and a stinging sensation and we all have a good laugh about it. I'm not sure how Chelsea's superstars will react though!

'All jokes aside, the best thing about this tie is that we are playing it at our own stadium. So many small clubs have switched the venue when they pull out a draw like Chelsea, but we never considered doing that.

'Personally I'd love to play at Stamford Bridge, but we should get Chelsea down here and let them experience what this competition is all about.'

Cryan's compatriot Stephen Capper fears he will be an outsider looking in on the party after losing his place in Russell Slade's Boro side after a mid-season visit to the UAE.

His performances in captaining the Ireland Under-20 side in the World Youth Cup impressed all observers, but it does mean he is relying on a timely recall for this cup tie.

'The experience at the World Youth Cup is something I would never have given up, but it means I have been on the bench for Scarborough since,' says Capper, whose Ireland side lost out to a Colombian golden goal in FIFA's junior football showcase in December.

'I mean, you might never play in a World Cup again and to be captain was very special.

'The lads here did well in my absence and they have stayed in the side. Now we have this glamour tie and I'm desperate to play, absolutely desperate. I wouldn't think Chelsea are fancying the trip to Scarborough too much, but we can't wait. This is one of the biggest games any of us will have played in.'

Cryan was named man-of-the-match in Boro's 1-0 third round replay win over Southend, yet he is not about to believe that his team will pull off the most famous FA Cup shock of all-time on Saturday. In fact, he and his team mates are viewing this game as the ultimate shop window to impress prospective employers.

'This is the first time Sky TV have ever taken their cameras to Scarborough and we have the most fashionable team in Europe coming to play us,' he continues.

'We could not wish for a better chance to show that there are some good quality young players playing Conference football. I am looking to get out of Sheffield United and if I can have a good game against Chelsea, people may sit up and take notice.

'But I won't be wasting too much money on us getting a win. Not unless I have a few too many beers and find myself in the bookies by mistake!'

The contrast between Roman Abramovich's superstars and the side next on their fixture list could not be more diverse. Cryan shares a lift into training with three of his team mates in a bid to save petrol on the couple of occasions they train each week, while Chelsea's stars have their top of the range Mercs and BMW's cleaned as they train each day.

They would not want to admit to being in awe of opponents such as Damien Duff, but the actions of Cryan and Capper in the final five minutes of this game will say a lot about what this meeting of David and Goliath is all about.

'I will be following Duffer around the pitch because I want that shirt of his,' adds Dubliner Capper with a smile. 'Cryan tells me he has his eye on his No.11 jersey, but I will get there before him don't worry. If I have to meet him when he gets off the team bus, then I'll be there'

'Not a chance,' interjects Cryan. 'I have this plan to walk up to Duffer during the warm up with the big Irish accent and trying to cut a deal for the shirt. That is going over my mantle piece if I have anything to do with it.

'So I will be trying to catch his eye in the final few minutes of the game and I just have to hope he does not get substituted. That would make the dash for his shirt a bit trickier.'

They sound like a couple of school kids who have won a competition to play against their heroes and for Scarborough's excited squad, such an analogy is not far from the truth.

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