Totton determined to enjoy moment in the limelight

By Laurence Herdman and Ian WoodcockBBC Sport

Totton boss Stuart Ritchie was nowhere to be seen as his players and staff faced the media ahead of the biggest game in their 125-year history.

The Southern Premier League side will be playing their first ever FA Cup second round tie on Sunday when they host League Two's Bristol Rovers.

But while the squad were put through their paces, the ex-Aston Villa trainee was at a Duran Duran concert.

"It was a fantastic night. It was just what I needed, it was great to get away from the lads," the delivery driver quipped to BBC Radio Solent.

"You've just got to relax and enjoy the moment."

Ritchie has been in charge of the Stags since 2004 and has helped the club to two promotions, an FA Vase Final and two Hampshire Senior Cup victories.

And the Midlander has nothing but praise for his current squad as they prepare for the game of their lives.

"To be 90 minutes away from playing Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa or Wolves is a wonderful achievement.

"The lads have been absolutely superb. They've dealt with all the exposure really well.

"If they can raise their game an extra 10 or 15% then you just never know."

Alongside assistant manager Sean New, Ritchie has overseen more than 400 matches in the manager's seat for Totton, and despite suddenly being thrown into the media spotlight he is staying remarkably calm.

"We've just got to grasp the moment and enjoy our day on Sunday - win, lose or draw.

"We've come a long way very quickly and long may that continue. There is a great opportunity here to progress this football club.

"We're in the limelight on Sunday and we just have to make the most of that."

The side's 22-year-old striker Stefan Brown is also relishing the chance to take on Football League opposition.

The pacy forward, whose exploits against Bradford Park Avenue saw him awarded with the player of the round trophy and tickets to the final at Wembley in May, is in good form ahead of what is set to be the highlight of his career so far.

Having scored the fastest ever hat-trick by a substitute in the FA Cup during the 8-1 demolition of Bradford in round one, the Portsmouth University student is now getting used to his new-found fame.

"It's crazy. I was watching the TV the other night and my face came up on an advert for the FA Cup. I was like 'really, me?' It's been superb," he said.

"I just don't want it to stop. If we can beat Bristol Rovers and carry it on then brilliant."

It has been an exciting year all-round for the Hampshire side, who moved into the 3,000 capacity Testwood Stadium and then reached the FA Cup first round for the first time ever.

The 8-1 success over Bradford Park Avenue saw them become the first non-league team since the Second World War to score eight goals in the competition proper and catapulted them into the nation's conscience.

And the club's dreams of drawing a League team at home for their first ever round two encounter were confirmed when they were drawn against Bristol Rovers.

But while New acknowledges that it may be the draw the club wanted, no one is taking a result for granted.

"It's going to be tough, they're a professional club. They're training everyday or every other day and they know what's expected from them.

"We have to make sure we turn up in the right frame of mind and don't leave anything at home," the former Eastleigh, Fareham and Basingstoke man said.

Whatever the outcome of Sunday's game, the 2007 FA Vase finalists are a club on the up.

Currently second in the Southern League with two games in hand on league leaders Leamington, the Stags could be looking at a third promotion since Ritchie and New took the helm.

And a win for his side will mean Ritchie's only disappointment this week will have been Duran Duran not playing his favourite track, 'Girls on film.'

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