Woking v Watford: Alan Dowson plays down FA Cup upset hopes for Cards

Woking manager Alan Dowson on the sidelines
Alan Dowson was appointed Woking manager in the summer after a spell at Hampton and Richmond

Woking boss Alan Dowson claims it is "ridiculous" to suggest the non-league side could inflict a giant-killing on Premier League side Watford in their FA Cup third-round tie.

The Cards, who are second in National League South, welcome the Hornets to the Laithwaite Community Stadium on Sunday (14:00 GMT).

"If they play seven or eight of their players then it is going to be a cricket score," Dowson told BBC Surrey.

"Let's get the cards on the table - people say you can make a shock, but you can't. It's ridiculous.

"On the day we will believe we can win the game, because we've got to. But realistically we won't win."

Woking are making their first appearance at this stage of the competition since 1996-97 and are set to welcome a sell-out crowd of just under 5,700.

Gateshead-born Dowson was appointed as Woking boss last summer following spells in charge of Walton & Hersham, Kingstonian and Hampton & Richmond - and has been more concerned with the club's league form than the visit of Watford.

The club are second in the table, two points behind leaders Torquay, as they look to secure an immediate return to the National League following relegation from the top flight of non-league last season.

"The Watford game has never bothered us," said the 48-year-old. "We have won every league game since the last cup game. People say 'you must be excited' but I haven't even thought about it.

"You've got to do interviews and get your big head in the paper but I am more bothered with the Welling game on Wednesday.

"Everybody knows how much I wanted this job and wanted to try to get Woking on the map.

"I'll be looking at the Watford game as 'let's have a crack', and it is a great occasion for the club, but we need to beat Welling."

Jake Hyde celebrates his goal over Swindon
Jake Hyde scored the winning goal as Woking beat League Two club Swindon in the second round

Woking are estimated to have earned more than £500,000 from this season's FA Cup run, and have decent cup pedigree from the 1990s to draw inspiration from before the visit of Watford.

The Surrey club reached the fourth round in 1990-91, winning 4-2 at West Brom thanks to a Tim Buzaglo hat-trick before being knocked out by Everton at Goodison Park.

Six years later the Cards were beaten by Coventry City, then in the top flight, following a third-round replay.

But, despite upsetting League Two Swindon Town in the second round this season, Dowson is not willing to entertain thoughts of another unlikely victory.

"Watford is a showpiece. It is great for the community, which is a massive part of the club," he said.

"Once we get whacked by them we can look forward to Wednesday and Welling."