Kaby Djalo is well aware of Crawley Town’s rich FA Cup history and can’t wait for his first taste of the ‘magical competition.’
The Guinea-Bissau midfielder is set to make his first-ever appearance in the oldest cup contest in the world when Reds host Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
The 5ft 6in middle man returned to English football over the summer having spent four years playing abroad in Cyprus, Serbia, Romania, Poland and Finland.
The 24-year-old, who spent four years playing in Chelsea’s reserves and youth team before that, has fitted seamlessly into the Reds ranks after penning a two-year deal in August.
Despite Djalo only just beginning his first chapter in the FA Cup, he is well aware of Crawley’s prosperous past back in 2011 and 2012.
Two fifth round cup exits in consecutive years put Reds on the map as they suffered a narrow defeat to Premier League giants Manchester United and then at home to Stoke the following year.
A run has not been produced since as they have not made it past the first round for the past two years, having been knocked out by Luton and Yeovil.
The last time they did make the second round was in 2013 when they were beaten by Bristol Rovers in a replay.
That is something Djalo cannot wait to try and put right at the Checkatrade Stadium on Saturday.
He said: “This competition is really exciting, when you have to play against team from a different category it always gives you extra motivation. So I’m looking forward it very much.
“I think it’s the same for me (despite having played a lot of football abroad) as it’s a magical competition. I’m looking forward to it because every competition during the season brings its own excitement and I have played cups before abroad but just never played in the FA Cup before.
“I am aware of the club’s history in the competition because some fans are still talking about it like it was yesterday, so I know how big this competition is and how much it means for them.
“I think we will do our very best game by game starting with Bristol.
“We’re going to play to win like we have been doing since we started the season and of course it’s always good to start playing in front of our fans at home.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at the earlier time of 12noon.
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