Sutton star Craig Eastmond hoping to prove point to Arsene Wenger in FA Cup
Every shower, every bit of murky low grey cloud or hint of snow has had Sutton United midfielder Eastmond grabbing his phone and looking anxiously for news.
And in fairness, the Daily Express has not helped. The front page headline in last Wednesday's paper "Killer Freeze to Last Ten Days," was not exactly what the 26-year-old wanted to see.
The reason is because Eastmond had picked himself up an automatic three match ban for a straight red card when Sutton were held by Boreham Wood in the FA Trophy last week. And the fourth match in Sutton's run after that game sees them facing his old club Arsenal. Yes. Arsenal. In the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night.
To say that Eastmond was desperate to play against Arsene Wenger, the manager who let him go at the age of 20 after 10 first team appearances for the club including a Champions League appearance at Shakhtar Donetsk, was putting it mildly.
But after being on tenterhooks all week in case matches were postponed, Eastmond has made it.
Eastmond in action for Arsenal in 2012
Boreham Wood in the Trophy replay went ahead, as did Solihull Moors in the National League – and finally on Tuesday night, Guiseley away, where Sutton lost their third game in a row 2-1, in the thankfully less than frozen north.
So Eastmond is free to face Mr Wenger in the most romantic, amazing FA Cup tie of modern times.
And what's more, the tough tackling midfielder insists he is not going to change his ways – despite his narrow escape.
Eastmond, whose hero was hard man Patrick Vieira, insisted: "I like going into tackles. If you just put a foot in, it could be a leg-breaker. I am not afraid to go in on a 50-50, because if you are afraid you end up getting hurt. I am always strong."
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Eastmond's hero is Patrick Vieira
Inside Arsenal's changing room for away clash at Sutton United
Mon, January 30, 2017
Arsenal face a trip to non-league side Sutton United for their fifth round FA Cup clash and this is the changing room they'll use…
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Manager Paul Doswell has said that Eastmond, who left Arsenal for spells at Colchester and Yeovil before, without a club last summer, being rescued by Sutton, should be playing at a higher level.
The midfielder heaved a huge sigh of relief as he said: "The Guiseley game was the one I was worried about, because they have been having snow up there. But thankfully it all went ok. I am so looking forward to Monday now.
"Of course there is a part of me that wants to prove Arsene wrong. That is always going to be on my mind: 'How come he let me go?'
"It was not the happiest day in my life. I thought I had made it. I played in the Champions League. But I always had faith. Now I have a chance to show what I can do.
"A lot of Arsenal fans are saying it is Arsene's time to go now. The fans only see silverware. They are getting frustrated. But he has always been a great manager."