Sutton United v Leeds United: Non-league side aim to emulate FA Cup heroes of 1989

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FA Cup classics: Sutton United v Coventry in 1989
FA Cup fourth round: Sutton United v Leeds United
Venue: Gander Green Lane Date: Sunday, 29 January Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Leeds, with text commentary on the BBC Sport website

This season's FA Cup has not thrown up too many blockbuster minnow-at-home-to-giant ties since the Premier League and Championship sides entered the competition in round three.

However, non-league Sutton United's draw against Leeds United, who are third in the Championship, does have a ring of glamour.

Three-time English champions and 1972 Cup winners Leeds were handed a trip to a side 84 league places below them, with giant-killing history and an artificial pitch.

A shock at Gander Green Lane

Sutton's current part-timers are aiming to emulate the club's most famous FA Cup moment, which came in 1989 when they beat Coventry City 2-1 in the third round at Gander Green Lane.

Coventry may have now fallen to the foot of League One but back then they were in the middle of a 34-year spell in the top tier, and had won the FA Cup just 18 months before.

"Playing-wise, it was the biggest day I experienced. No other day would come close, apart from the birth of my children," Matt Hanlan, the scorer of the winning goal that day, told BBC Sport.

"The fact I am still taking about it all these years later is testament to that upset."

After dumping out the Sky Blues, Hanlan and fellow goalscorer Tony Rains received national media attention.

Tony Rains and Matt Hanlan
Goalscorers Rains and Hanlan celebrate Sutton's famous giant-killing of Coventry in 1989

"From the minute the game ended it spiralled out of control," added Hanlan, now 50 and working in construction.

"On the Sunday, in the days before the internet and Twitter, we had reporters from all the papers round my mum and dad's house.

"To get up and go to work on the Monday morning was a bit of a chore. I was working as a bricklayer and the monotony was broken up by a couple more papers turning up on site.

"At midday we got a call to go home and I then found out the BBC had called and I was required to go on Terry Wogan's show that evening.

"I wouldn't swap a long career in the professional game for the recognition and accolade you get from scoring just one goal - and being part of a team which did something."

'A once-in-a-lifetime experience'

The victory over the Sky Blues has gone down in Sutton and FA Cup folklore. It took 24 years for another non-league side to beat top-flight opposition, when Luton knocked out Norwich in 2013.

However, the current U's side are writing new FA Cup history - to the delight of chairman Bruce Elliott.

The National League club have already knocked out two Football League sides, Cheltenham and Wimbledon, en route to reaching the fourth round.

Sutton players celebrate
Sutton boss Paul Doswell and players celebrate after beating AFC Wimbledon in the third round to set up a tie with Leeds

"Only the FA Cup can get this type of profile for a non-league club," Sutton manager Paul Doswell told BBC Radio London.

"It has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us. We have been able to create some more recent memories."

Members of the 1989 side still keep in touch and several will be in attendance at Gander Green Lane on Sunday, hoping Sutton can make the fifth round for the first time.

"A few of us were there for the AFC Wimbledon game and seven or eight are coming down for Leeds," said Rains, now 56 and a black cab driver.

"The tie depends on what side Leeds put out.

"If they are looking at their Championship game coming up on Wednesday, and getting in the play-offs to get back into the Premier League, there are reasons an upset could happen."

Doswell eyes Elland Road trip

The fourth round has not been kind to Sutton, with their two previous appearances at this stage ending in heavy defeats.

They were beaten 6-0 by Leeds at this stage in 1970 and, after overcoming the Sky Blues in 1989, the U's went on to lose 8-0 to Norwich at Carrow Road.

Doswell knows the scale of the task in front of his side, and would settle for a replay.

Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott and manager Paul Doswell
Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott and manager Paul Doswell estimate the club have earned more than £500,000 from their run to the FA Cup fourth round

"There are two results I would be in dreamland with; one would be to win but equally as good would be to draw and to go up to Elland Road," he said.

"It is a great stadium. I am 50 now and I grew up watching the proper Leeds teams. I have a lot of respect for them.

"What a brilliant experience that would be for the club. We'd take thousands up there.

"That would be the end of the cup run, being realistic - but what a way to go out."

Home improvements at Gander Green Lane

Doswell is not expecting his players to be overawed against Garry Monk's Leeds - pointing to their previous exploits in the FA Cup this season and the experience among his squad.

Nicky Bailey played in the Championship for Middlesbrough and Charlton, fellow midfielder Craig Eastmond featured for Arsenal in the Champions League in 2010, while striker Matt Tubbs was part of the Crawley side which reached the fifth round in 2010-11 before losing to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

"There are players who have played in bigger games than this," said Doswell.

"The Wimbledon game gave us that feeling of what it's like with a sold-out crowd here, with TV and radio. They didn't fall down then."

Gander Green Lane
Sutton have sold out Gander Green Lane for the visit of Leeds on Sunday, which will be on shown on television

Doswell is aiming to use the prize money and broadcasting income from their cup exploits - which is expected to be more than £500,000 in total - to improve the infrastructure at Gander Green Lane, including re-tiling the entrance hallway in the clubhouse.

"The clubhouse and the changing rooms are pretty much the same as when I was there," said Hanlan.

"They have done a little bit at a time. I'd suspect their goal is to get into the Football League at some point, but not do it to the detriment of the club.

"They are sensible with what they can achieve and the timescales involved."

Victory over Leeds and a glamour tie in the fifth round could lead to more than a spot of tiling at Gander Green Lane.

Interview with Paul Doswell by BBC Radio London's Andy Rowley.

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