Date: 10th January 2007 at 12:37pm
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Sadly not even the lure of an exciting Hibs team coming to town and the prospect of Gretna to play in the next round has interested Dons fans for this 3rd round Scottish Cup tie. With both teams going well in the league, both are pushing for European places, and having fought a tough but pulsating match at Easter Road last week it`s strange to report that the ticket sales so far only stand at 10,000.

With Rangers already out of the tournament, the match-up must have both clubs believing that they stand an excellent chance of making the cup final and Dons boss Jimmy Calderwood cannot believe that the fans are not turning up to witness this very important match. ‘It looks as though the crowd is going to be disappointing. That is a shame, as this is a massive game for both clubs.

‘We are still hoping sales will improve because the game is the tie of the round and if it had been played at Easter Road, there would probably have 15,000 or 16,000 people there.

‘I know you cannot force folk to come, especially as people have just spent a lot of money on Christmas.

‘But we like to think we are a big club, along with the likes of Hearts and Hibs, yet they probably average about 3,000 more supporters per home game than we do.

‘That is even though we are in a better position than both of them in the league.

‘For the future of the club, our crowds need to get better because the drop is a worrying trend.

‘That is not just the case for us, but for football in general.

‘If this game had been on a Saturday, Hibs would probably have brought between 2,000 and 3,000 with them because, like us, they have a good travelling support, but that won’t happen.

‘We have been doing well and this match has all the makings of being a really good cup tie, but it looks like there might only be 10,000 watching it.’

The fact that the match is on national BBC television will always detract from the sales to the public that are just recovering from the Christmas excesses and a Wednesday night fixture is also unsuitable for some fans who may have distances to travel but Jimmy knows that the club should be drawing a bigger gate.

He added: ‘We have had a great calendar year and are playing against a good footballing side, so there really isn’t a lot else we can do to get people along.

‘You rack your brain trying to figure out how to improve things, but it is difficult.

‘I understand football is an expensive sport to watch and we are grateful for the people who do come along. But as football people ourselves, we cannot ignore the fact smaller crowds will have an impact eventually.’

Club captain Russell Anderson thinks that a good cup run might be the answer to getting a buzz about the club again in the Granite City and win back a few fans so victory tonight against Hibs is crucial. ‘A cup run could attract people back but only time will tell. It certainly wouldn’t do any harm. The players are trying to give as much as they can to entice our supporters back.’

‘There is a fair incentive because we would have eliminated one of the favourites for the cup and would then have another home tie against Gretna.

‘And more SPL sides will fall at the next hurdle so the cup could open up like it did for Gretna last season when they went to the final. But if we start thinking ahead and what could be, we could fall flat on our faces.’