A FIREMAN, a home improvement inspector, a teacher and a bathroom fitter are among those taking on Southend United for AFC Telford tomorrow.

But manager Steve Tilson is fully aware of what the part-timers are capable of conjuring up in the FA Cup first round clash.

For 19 years ago the Blues boss and his assistant Paul Brush were both in the Shrimpers side which lost 1-0 at non-league minnows Aylesbury.

And Tilson is desperate to avoid a similar setback as a manager.

“That defeat just shows you what can happen if you don’t approach a game in the right way,” said the Seasiders chief.

“Brushy and I both played and it was terrible to lose. It certainly hurt a lot at the time and I don’t want to feeling that way again tomorrow.”

Tilson is therefore taking nothing for granted against the Blue Square North side, especially as they have now not been beaten for 13 matches.

“Make no mistake about it they are a good side,” said the 42-year-old.

“Upsets happen all the time in this competition and 99 per cent of them are down to the losing team’s attitude and approach.

“That will be the key on Saturday and if we get that right then we’re going to win. But we will have to work for it and it definitely isn’t a case of just turning up.”

In a further blow, Tilson will also be missing four of his five on loan players.

Goalkeeper Adam Federici, left back Dam Harding, midfielder Lee Sawyer and winger Hal-Robson-Kanu have all been denied permission to play by their parent clubs.

That leaves Jean Francois-Christophe as the only loanee able to play and, although that frustrates Tilson, he also knows it gives other players a rare chance to impress.

“This is an opportunity for a lot of people in the squad,” he said.

“They have waited a while for a chance and now they are getting one. It’s up to them to make it as hard as they can for me to pick the team for the match at Tranmere the following weekend.”

Tilson must decide between Johnny Herd and Osei Sankofa for who replaces Harding, while shot-stopper Steve Mildenhall and midfielder Alan McCormack seem definite starters.

Youth team prospect Justin Hazell, who joined the club as an eight-year-old, will travel to the game as a member of the first-team squad for the first time.

Hazell, a versatile forward, played in the midweek FA Youth Cup defeat to Brentford and will be joined in the squad by midfielder Stuart O’Keefe, who scored twice against the Bees.

Southend United: (from) Mildenhall, Francis, Clarke, Barrett, Herd, Betsy, McCormack, Christophe, Scannell, Revell, Laurent, Grant, Walker, Joyce, Sankofa, Furlong, O’Keefe, Hazell & Ademeno

THE draw for the second round of the FA Cup will be live on ITV this Sunday at 1.35pm.

Southend or AFC Telford will be ball 29, while Grays Athletic or Carlisle United, who meet at Brunton Park, will be number 10.