THE unmistakeable carrot of a place in the third round of the FA Cup, with all the possibilities that brings, appears on the horizon for Swindon Town tomorrow, but defender Ben Purkiss is far too schooled in the fickle nature of football to get caught peering too far into the distance.

Victory at Broadhall Way would not only send the County Ground men to that stage for the first time in six years, but also open the door to a potential glamour appointment with one of the Premier League’s giants.

While right-back Purkiss was not too coy to reveal his ideal third-round opponent - more than 15 years in and around the professional game have taught him not to get caught in the trap of running dream scenarios through his head before the business of getting to that stage has been accomplished.

“I genuinely honestly hadn’t considered that, really,’’ the 33-year-old, who grew up as an Everton fan, said when asked about the possibilities that may lie in wait.

“I’ve been in the game long enough and even in the league if you start thinking ‘if we beat Newport we’ll be in this position’ you almost get carried away and you forget to take care of business on the day.

“There hasn’t been any talk or discussion around who we could get. We’re focused on this game and rectifying the previous two results and fortunately there hasn’t been any talk (of the third round) in that sense.’’ Town’s current squad have almost found themselves beaten over the head with the failures of their recent predecessors to make any impact in the world’s most famous domestic cup competition.

But while Purkiss is well aware of the special feeling the tournament engenders among players and supporters, he feels learning from more recent mistakes is further up the to-do list.

“I think that comes as well because the last couple of games (Grimsby and Newport) haven’t been great either and it’s more looking back and reflecting on why we haven’t gone so well and looking to address those issues going into Saturday,’’ he added.

“I think the FA Cup is always a big deal. I know a lot has been made of Swindon’s history in the past four or five years, when the second round has been out of reach, as it were.

“I think we’re all looking forward to the tie. We’ve been successful away from home this season and we’ll be looking to carry that on. There is always that carrot in the end of that third round and that’s what we’ll be looking to achieve.’’

Referring to the possibility of a third-round opponent, he added: “I’d like Everton. Everton were my team growing up and I’ve never in my career been to Everton, so I would love it.

“I’m not sure the rest of the Swindon fans would pick Everton. You’d like a Premier League team, home or away. Away you get to enjoy the atmosphere at the ground and the facilities and that type of thing. (At) home, if we can improve our home form then there is a more realistic chance of getting a scalp and moving on to that fourth round.

“(But) we can’t worry about that, it’s about making sure we do the business on Saturday. Get in the hat and see what happens.’’