Alex Meechan’s Boro travel to higher-league Kidderminster Harriers in the second qualifying round tomorrow (3pm), hoping to land an upset.
And they travel with little pressure after enduring a winless start to the Northern Premier season – though they did dispatch Mickleover Sports 3-0 in the previous round.
“It’s a free shot for us,” said joint-manager Meechan. “I don’t think anyone is going to go there expecting us to win the game.
“But we are very confident we can go there and cause an upset.
“It’s the FA Cup, a competition famous for upsets and giant killings – it’s the competition where anything can happen. Kiddy are a good team, they like to play the right way.
“They are in the Conference North and probably should be in the Conference Premier so it’s a great game for us to get our teeth into.
“We have set an objective which will stay in house.
“But we don’t fear anyone and we are determined to have a great day and enjoy it.
“We will work hard and do our best to give the fans something to cheer for.”
Rangers have been past the second qualifying round just once since they were relegated from the Conference in 2007/08.
National League North Harriers have fared better in that time, reaching the first round on no less than five occasions, including a run to the fourth round in 2013/14.
But their adventure was ended early by rivals Stourbridge last season, who – like Stafford – were a division below Kiddy. And goalkeeper Tom Palmer is keen to avoid another upset and go another long run in the competition.
“That’s what we’re going for – a good FA Cup run,” he said. “It would be brilliant for the fans and good for us as players to go as far as we can in it.
“We can’t afford to be complacent – we need to treat it like we would any other game.
“We have to go in there and get the win – that’s what we are focused on.”
Harriers have had a solid start to the season – they sit 12th in National League North – amid an ongoing takeover that has limited their power in the transfer market.
Academy graduate Palmer has got his chance in the side after an injury to on-loan Shrewsbury Town shot-stopper Cameron Gregory.
The 20-year-old played in their first home win of the season on Saturday – a 2-0 triumph over Altrincham, and said it was important to break that duck: “It was a bit of a burden off your shoulders getting that first win at home and now the boys are in good spirits and ready to go.”
He added: “I’m pleased to be back in the team and it really means a lot to me to be playing for my home town.”