JESSE MARSCH knows all about the romance of the Cup — even though his missus might not agree.
When the Leeds boss invited wife Kim out on a date, little did she expect it would be a wet and windy night at Accrington’s Wham Stadium.
Instead of fine dining and cocktails at a swanky city centre brasserie, it was pies and pints in the Pennine foothills.
Mrs Marsch was treated to the homely delights of the Wham Stadium as Stanley squeezed through their replay against Boreham Wood after extra time to book a fourth-round visit by the Premier League strugglers.
The food on offer at the Wham includes a range of Pukka Pies at £2.80 or even Pot Noodles at £1.80.
Marsch felt a bit guilty about dressing the scouting mission up as a romantic meal for two but insists the welcome from their League One hosts could not have been warmer.
But he is expecting a less hospitable afternoon as his side bid to avoid an FA Cup giant-killing.
The American revealed: “I suppose it’s how us coaches manage to find date nights. You take your wife to the match.
“We went along and met their owner Andy Holt and managing director Dave Burgess.
“We sat with them and they were both very gracious and welcoming. Quite rightly, they have a lot of pride in what they’ve built there.”
Marsch used his busman’s date night to pick up plenty of inside information on how to avoid a tricky potential banana skin in front of the live TV cameras by preventing Accy making it through to round five for the first time in their history.
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The 49-year-old has never lost to a lower-league side in a 12-season coaching career.
And he added: “I think it’s always important when you play at a lower division team to go and see what kind of environment and match atmosphere they have.
“Accrington have a lot of pride in their pitch and the crowd generates a good atmosphere. Their team competes hard and you can see they care a lot about winning.
“They value the FA Cup and as a team they specialise in set-pieces and throw-ins.
“I think they’ll play a lot of long balls, defend hard and play direct against us.”
Leeds’ only win in the last nine games came in the 5-2 third- round replay demolition of Cardiff as they take a welcome break from their battle for Premier League survival.
They are desperate to avoid Accrington adding their name to the likes of Histon, Rochdale, Sutton and Crawley who have all dumped them out of the Cup in recent years.
Marsch is set to hand a debut to £25million signing Georginio Rutter but skipper Liam Cooper and midfielder Tyler Adams are both expected to miss out through injury.
The head coach added: “We’ll have a lot of travelling fans backing us and we’ll have to be ready for whatever Accrington throw at us.
“We know the David versus Goliath narrative can be very inspiring for the underdog.
“We won’t be taking anything for granted when we step out on that pitch.
“We need to be ready to play our kind of football and to be confident to command the ball and score goals.
“That’s our challenge and we’ll be up for it.
“We’ve got a chance to push in this tournament and we want to take it totally seriously.”