Gary Mills: Gateshead can enjoy FA Cup experience

Gary Mills
Gary Mills' Gateshead are challenging for promotion from the Conference

Gateshead boss Gary Mills wants his players to enjoy their FA Cup campaign, starting with the fourth qualifying round tie at home to Gainsborough.

The Tynesiders are fourth in the Conference, with 30 points from 17 games, and targeting promotion after missing out last season.

Mills believes the competition can be a "welcome break" for the squad.

"We can enjoy the FA Cup, that's what it's about, it's a passion for me," Mills told BBC Newcastle.

"As a manager, my aim is to get Gateshead to the third round draw. We've worked hard, we've had 17 games, we're in a play-off position and the players have done well."

Last season, League Two side Oxford ended the club's interest in the competition at the first-round stage after a replay.

The second-round exit in 2011-12 by Tamworth - who went on to face Everton - is as close as Gateshead have come in recent seasons.

However, Mills' experience with York City was more profitable, securing a lucrative tie against top-flight opposition.

"It gives you the chance to maybe pit your wits against a Premier League manager," he said. "That would be great.

"I did that at York when we went to Bolton. I want to have that again, and the financial side would be fantastic.

"To get to the stage where you can cover your whole budget by getting to the third round would be fantastic for the chairman."