OLDHAM Athletic manager Dino Maamria is warning his side of a potential FA Cup banana skin at Gateshead.

Latics head to the North East for the first-round tie on Sunday lunchtime, taking on a side two levels below them and ninth in the National League North table.

Maamria, who has spent large parts of his playing and managerial career in non-league, knows all about what will be waiting for his side at the International Stadium.

“It’s going to be a tough game, without a shadow of a doubt, I’d prefer to play a Football League team really,” the Oldham boss said.

“Gateshead is a funny stadium with the track around it and they are doing well in Conference North.

“They’ve got some experienced players and I’ve got to make sure to tell my players, they’ve got to be right on it to make sure we get the win.”

Maamria will be hoping his side can build on the late fightback in the 2-2  draw against Northampton last time out at Boundary Park on Saturday.

The Latics boss believes increased confidence and self-belief shone through the team as they came back from a two-goal deficit.

Goals from Scott Wilson, in the 85th minute, and Jonny Smith, four minutes later, secured Latics a point that leaves them 20th in the League Two table.

But who was the driving force behind the sudden boost of confidence the team displayed? “It’s me! It’s me!” Maamria joked.

“I want the team to reflect me and I think it’s working to be fair.

“It’s about getting under the players’ skin, finding their right motivation level and just making them play with ambition.

“Don’t just turn up and play football for the sake of it. Footballers’ careers are very short and you have to make something out of it.

“That’s how you really build those characters. Give them confidence, self-belief, make them better, make them think big.”

Along with the psychological encouragement, Maamria has been working hard on his team’s physical fitness, believing the strong finish against the Cobblers is another sign that things are coming together. “They’re the areas I’ve been working on in terms of the resilience of the team and the personality I keep talking about,” he added.