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banner Friday, 16 November, 2001, 12:24 GMT
Big game Hunter
Ipswich celebrate at Wembley in 1978
Ipswich celebrate their FA Cup triumph in 1978
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Roach takes a flick through Barry Hunter's FA Cup scrapbook.

Rushden and Diamonds may be about to play their first FA Cup match as a Football League side, but central defender Barry Hunter has enough cup memories to last them a lifetime.

The former Northern Ireland international defender joined Brian Talbot's Football League new boys from Reading last month, bringing with him an FA Cup scrapbook bursting with clippings.

FA Cup history runs in the family.

  Hunter's FA Cup scrapbook
1974 - Uncle Willie McFauld plays in goal for Newcastle in 3-0 defeat against Liverpool
1978 - Another uncle, Allan Hunter, helps Ipswich to shock cup final win over Arsenal
1995 - Defender Barry stars in Wrexham's shock victory over Premiership Ipswich
As a boy, Hunter recalls watching his uncle, Willie McFaul, play at Wembley as Newcastle were beaten by a Kevin Keegan-inspired Liverpool in the 1974 FA Cup final.

Four years later, the nine-year-old Hunter travelled to Wembley with the rest of his family to watch another uncle, Allan Hunter, star in Ipswich's memorable win over Arsenal.

Seeing the winners' medal sitting proudly on a family mantelpiece 24 hours later, Hunter knew he wanted a taste of his own FA Cup glory.

And it wasn't long in coming.

As a rising international star at the heart of the Wrexham defence, Hunter was part of the team which pulled off one of the big FA Cup shocks of the 1994/95 season when they beat, ironically, Ipswich.

Hunter recalls: "We lost at Old Trafford in the next round, so that was a big year for Cup memories.

"But, whether it is Manchester United or Worcester City, there is something magic about the FA Cup.

"I can remember going to Wembley with my dad in 1974 as clear as if it was yesterday.

Barry Hunter in action for Northern Ireland
Barry Hunter represented Northern Ireland at senior level
"All the players' families were sat in the same area and when Roger Osborne scored the winner for Ipswich the feeling was fantastic.

"I had become an Ipswich fan because of my uncle and had all the kit and the scarves. But there had been a doubt about Allan's fitness in the week leading up to the final, so it was a big relief to see him play."

Hunter is hopeful that his own contribution to the FA Cup history books is not yet finished and will be hoping to ensure that Worcester do not turn the giant-killing tables on Rushden this weekend.

"The FA Cup is a special atmosphere and a special feeling and I will be telling the lads not to forget that on Saturday," insists Hunter.

"For me, it doesn't matter who you are playing and it is important for us to remember that Worcester will be fancying their chances on Saturday.

"For them, they have got the 'big boys' coming down and they will fancy a bit of an upset.

"But we want to progress too. We want to enjoy a bit of a run and make sure it's the big boys coming to us."

It would not be the first time.

Ipswich and Northern Ireland defender Allan Hunter
Allan Hunter in action for Northern Ireland against England
Rushden have only been in existence for 10 years and have progressed beyond the qualifying rounds of the FA Cup four times.

But they have enjoyed some special meetings in that short space of time.

In 1999, they reached the third round proper, holding Leeds to a goalless draw at Nene Park before losing in a replay at Elland Road.

The following year, they repeated the trick, holding Sheffield United to a draw at Bramall Lane in round three before losing on penalties in the return.

This season, they are keen to welcome another big name to Nene Park to show off the impressive facilities built by millionaire owner Max Griggs.

"This is a progressive club and they are trying to do things the right way," says Hunter.

He added: "We have gone 11 games unbeaten and have shot up the table to seventh.

"When you get on a run like that, everything looks rosy. But it would be nice to have a cup run to go with it."

Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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