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View from the South Stand - Wrexham 07/01/12

Our FA Cup record against lower division teams seasons is pretty poor. Leatherhead, Walton & Hersham, Kingstonian, Sudbury Town, Mansfield, Hereford and Lincoln are all lower league sides to have sent Brighton crashing to defeat while we've needed replays against Woking (twice), Canvey Island and FC United of Manchester.

Our old friends from Wrexham will be looking to add their name to that list when they head south to The Amex for a third round. We spoke to Shaun Harris from the message board at for the view from Wales

Brighton and Wrexham obviously have a bit of a history with each other as we both suffered from asset-stripping owners in the past which lead to a fair few Albion fans to attend your Fans United Day in 2004. How are things on the off-the-field side of the club now?
Things have settled down and are much better. We have the owners the vast majority of fans wanted and although there is a lot of hard work ahead at least success or failure is now in our own hands. The new board is in place, it has a lot of lifelong dedicated Wrexham fans with some great experience in both business and football with Barry Horne. There is a great buzz around the town with improving gates and loads of fundraising efforts.    

With your supporters trust now in charge of the club, do you think Wrexham FC can survive given that a lot of teams lower down the pyramid rely on rich benefactors to bankroll them?

We take great heart from the success of the likes of Wimbledon and Exeter, both have achieved on field success in a sustainable way. With the fans rallying around with fundraising, volunteering and supporting the team through attending and buying merchandise coupled with good management controls we think we'll be ok. Our eyes are wide open with the size of the task but there is a confidence amongst the fans and an optimism that we can do it.  

You currently sit top of the Blue Square Premier with big-money Fleetwood breathing down your necks. Is promotion is season a realistic aim?  
Absolutely, we have a good team built on an amazing defensive record and a team spirit that money can't buy. Its going to be tough but the fans and I think the players believe we can do it.

If Wrexham do regain their place in the Football League, how high do you think they could go?
With the basis of the team we have league 1 could well be an achievable goal, it depends upon keeping the players we have which is never easy when they attract attention. The management team are without doubt good enough but as ever in football we'll need a little luck along the way. 

Dean Saunders left The Racecourse Ground early on in the season for Doncaster yet it doesn't seem to have affected you at all. How is Andy Morrell getting on?
He's an unbelievable record so far, to be fair I think its Andy and his backroom team who work so well together. Billy Barr his assistant takes a lot of credit as well. Hopefully he can keep it going, there certainly hasn't been a blip yet!

Are there any stars in the Wrexham line up who Albion fans should be looking out for on Saturday who could go onto play at a higher level?  
I think there's  a few. Our 'keeper Mayebi has been a revelation this season, Curtis Obeng, our right back, has lightning pace and could easily play at a higher level, Nat Knight Percival has improved beyond all expectations this year at centre half to the point where he could be a Championship player within a few years. Adrian Cieslewicz has undoubted talent and if his end product became more consistant he would be a star much higher up. Matthias Pogba will attract undoubted attention at some point as well but may be out for Saturday through injury. Thats just a few but the whole squad is good enough for League 2 as a minimum. Watch out for Jay Harris our talisman centre midfielder and the "Beast" Mark Creighton at centre half, he's a big lad!

How has the draw been received by your fans. Don't worry, we won't take any offence if you think it's rubbish!  
I think most fans fancied United away for obvious reasons! Once the dust settled though its a decent draw, good day out at a club we have an affinity with, in what looks like a super stadium, and if I can be so bold, one that we fancy we might be able to sneak a result out of!

How much do you know about the current Brighton side?  
Only from reading recent reports and catching highlights once the draw was announced, I noticed the recent dip in form but you seemed to turn that around last weekend. I think you have an up and coming manager is Gus and clearly a decent team being sat in the Championship.

We haven't crossed swords since 2004. Are you looking forward to a first visit to The Amex?  
Absolutely, we are taking 2000 or more which tells you how much the fans are looking forward to this one!

One of Wrexham's most famous moments came when they knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup twenty years ago. Do you think a similar if slightly lower key shock could be on the cards on Saturday?
If we can replicate our recent clean sheets then anything is possible. Its the FA Cup after all and we do have a bit of a track record of giant killings! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer the questions, good luck to Brighton for the season but not for Saturday!

Many thanks to Shaun for his insight into the forthcoming fixture. If we win, you can pop over to the Red Passion Messageboard to commiserate with Wrexham fans at the end of their FA Cup journey and wish them good luck in the quest to regain their spot in the Football League


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