TERRY Brown hopes to evoke the underdog spirit of the old Wimbledon as he leads the club's modern offspring into FA Cup action tomorrow.
AFC Wimbledon, set up by supporters alienated by the old Dons' relocation to Milton Keynes, have risen rapidly through the divisions since their formation in 2002.
They are now just one promotion shy of a place in the Football League and, after seven years of dominating amateur and semi-professional divisions, manager Brown can sense the famous Wimbledon essence returning.
"We're the underdog again and we're enjoying it," said Brown ahead of an intriguing FA Cup first-round tie at League One Millwall.
"We have been going for seven years and been expected to win every game we have played, until this year.
"I'm the lucky one because all my predecessors were expected to win games four or five nil.
"I'm the first manager to be playing against teams like Luton and Oxford and the crowd is no longer expecting us to win.
"Now to be playing a top seven or eight League One side is going to be very hard, but Wimbledon's tradition is all about causing cup upsets and being the underdog. We see it as a stepping stone."
The old Wimbledon shook up the established order by rising from non-league football to spend 14 seasons in the top flight.
Their most famous moment was their stunning FA Cup final victory over Liverpool in 1988 but, famed for their direct style, they continued to frustrate bigger clubs with regularity until their relegation in 2000.
That proved the start of a downward spiral which was only halted after reincarnation as MK Dons, but by then their traditional fans had deserted them for the new club.
AFC Wimbledon, playing at Kingstonian's Kingsmeadow ground - which they now own - made light work of the lower tiers of the football pyramid.
They are now consolidating as they plot the next upwards move but Brown, who took charge two years ago after a spell at Aldershot Town, feels the club already have quite a history.
Brown said: "We are in a transitional phase, preparing to go full-time from part-time.
"That is a change we are going to have to make eventually but we're not there yet.
"We're looking to have continuity over the next couple of years to build a side capable of challenging for a place in the Football League.
"That is the aim - if all goes well we might even get a play-off spot this year - but fans have really enjoyed the journey so far.
"I am sure they will look back in a few years and see that was as much fun, if not more, than actually getting in there and being a League Two side or better."
Before any more promotions, however, the Blue Square Premier side face the immediate task of playing Millwall.
"It is a no-lose situation," Brown said. "It will be a great experience for the players.
"We have to improve vastly defensively - we have let in a lot of goals lately - but we will go there and give 100% and try to emulate some of the great FA Cup feats of the past."