Tonight’s EFL Cup clash at West Ham is a big night for Stanley but arguably a bigger one for Omar Beckles.
The Londoner, who moved north to join the Reds in the summer, heads back inside the M25 hoping to help the Reds spring a surprise.
It’s also a trip that will bring back memories of the 24-year-old’s father who died in 2015 and was a West Ham supporter.
“Being an East London boy it means a lot to me,” explained Beckles. “We could’ve drawn any London team or any team elsewhere in the country but we got one from East London and it’s the team that my dad supported. It means the world to me and hopefully I can get as many friends and family as I can down there to enjoy the occasion.
“He’ll be in my mind throughout. It’s going to be an emotional day but hopefully I’ll be able to rein it in, control it and be able to enjoy the occasion.
“We’re all professionals and there are a lot of things you experience throughout life that can get the emotions going but you have to be able to have that control to be able to play at a decent level. We’ll be professional enough to control the nerves and hopefully do well.
“I’m hoping that there will be a lot of people I know there. There are loads of friends and family sending me pictures showing that they’ve bought tickets so I think there will be plenty there.”
Stanley will once again be the underdogs having knocked out League One Bradford on penalties in round one and neighbours Burnley after extra time to set up this trip to the London Stadium.
The former Aldershot, St Albans and Millwall man sees no reason why they can’t upset the odds again.
“The manager has always set out from the get go that we need to have belief in ourselves,” he said. “He’s wanted to give us that winning mentality and it’s great to see evidence of that, beating teams like Bradford and Burnley. That only helps you grow in confidence and believe that you can win games so we’re optimistic that we can get a result.
“I think that Burnley win is probably my best experience in football. I’d been in non-league for a while so just to be back in the Football League and then to beat a Premier League team was right up there for me.
“There were a few dark times in the non-league experience so I wouldn’t have seen playing West Ham coming in my future but you have to take things with a pinch salt because they can change so quickly. In my case things have changed quickly and hopefully it can continue to go in a positive way.”