IAN McDonald has called for the people of Farnborough to rally round and cheer their club to survival tonight as he leads out his Boro team for the first time against Hereford United.

Macca, 49, who is among a rare breed to be popular on both sides of the Rushmoor border following his distinctive career, has been made caretaker manager of Farnborough Town until the end of the season with the job of steering them towards the Conference play-offs and another personal FA Trophy triumph.

McDonald watched from the stands as Boro triumphed in the Trophy at Bucks Head on Saturday — just 24 hours after he was officially confirmed as Boro's new boss.

And now with the club facing its first home game since Boxing Day, McDonald is calling for togetherness to help Farnborough Town pick up the pieces of a troubled week.

He said: "Wouldn't it be nice if just half of those 6,000 people who went to the Arsenal game showed up to give their home club some support on Tuesday?

"I know that is unlikely to happen but it would be great to see as many people as possible come down to support this club through their recent difficulties and follow up their good day out at Arsenal with a good night out watching Conference football."

Talking about his new job, McDonald added: "This is a big appointment for me as the job at Hampton & Richmond didn't go too well.

"But coming into Farnborough, I know I will be working with quality players and I am really looking forward to it.

"I know the situation at Farnborough with players leaving etc, and there's nothing I can do about that. My interest is in the players who are here playing for me rather than those who are no longer here.

"We may have to get rid of another one or two to reduce the wage bill a bit but I don't want to keep unhappy players and sincerely believe there is enough quality here for me to work with and produce a side that the supporters can be proud of."

McDonald will probably be best known locally for his lengthy spell at neighbours Aldershot, where he played and managed in an 11-year reign in the old Football League days.

Before that he had actually been signed by the legendary Bill Shankly at Liverpool but broke his leg before he made an appearance and was eventually signed by York City and then Aldershot, where he still lives.

McDonald also spent two months on loan at Farnborough Town during his latter days at Aldershot.

Since then, McDonald has made a name for himself on the coaching circuit, working with the Millwall youth and reserve sides before joining Geoff Chapple at Kingstonian, where he won both the Isthmian premier division title and the FA Trophy twice.

On the break-up of that winning partnership, Macca then went onto manage Hampton & Richmond Borough at the start of this season but lack of finances and a patched-up squad meant he lasted only until October and has been working as a southern area scout for Premiership side Middlesbrough since.

McDonald met Graham Benstead - who took team affairs at Telford on Saturday - for the first time at the weekend, and most of the players, of whom he had heard, seen but not met.

That is apart from Gary Patterson, who was the captain of Kingstonian at the time of Macca's success with Chapple.

McDonald beat several top names to land the Farnborough job, including former Aldershot boss George Borg, who was telephoned by Westley on Friday and asked to get in contact with General Manager Vince Williams.

But before he could do that, McDonald had the job.

Reflecting on the future, McDonald concluded: "I know the glory that a good cup run can bring and Saturday gave them an opportunity to play in the non-League FA Cup to keep spirits high. I believe with a bit of Lady Luck, we have a side here that can go on and win the FA Trophy, I really do.

"The club needed stability off the pitch, it needed a leader. A quick appointment has helped and now there is a figurehead here, the players know that they can come to talk to me about anything.

"I'm quite fortunate really because although I have strong connections with Aldershot, I am always well received when I go to Farnborough. I think the fans respect and appreciate me for what I did for Aldershot and I hope I can re-pay them for that by putting smiles back on their faces."