AFTER the excitement of beating Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup, everybody involved in Newport County sat down last Monday to watch the fourth round draw full of nerves and excitement.
We all were hoping for a big Premier League team and we weren’t disappointed as Rio Ferdinand drew Tottenham Hotspurs out of the hat to give us a magnificent home tie against them.
Most of the squad wanted Manchester United or Liverpool, but those teams were drawn out very early so hopes were dashed quickly. I realised Spurs were still in the draw and I jumped with delight when we were paired for the next round.
The tie against Spurs is going to be worth a lot of money to the club. Not only will we get a sell out at home, but the game is also live on BT Sport, so we will get another £150,000 on top of the gate receipts.
Obviously, the club would have earned a lot more money if we had have been drawn away from home at Wembley. A few of the lads were disappointed about that, but I’m delighted the game is in Newport.
For the city it will be massive to have a team like Spurs coming. The press coverage the club is getting is only going to help the city even more and paint it in a great light. Already last week we had the BBC down at the training ground to film for Football Focus and I think Soccer AM are coming down before the Spurs game too.
Within seconds of the draw my phone was hopping with messages from my friends telling me to make sure I try and get Dele Alli or Harry Kane’s jersey after the game, but first of all I’m worried about how we might possibly beat them.
As mad as that sounds, you must go into the game with the belief that anything is possible. Of course, Spurs are going to be massive favourites for the game and rightly so because they are one of the best sides in Europe right now. But that can’t stop us from dreaming.
Last season Lincoln City beat a number of sides from higher divisions including Premier League team Burnley, only to fall to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, so we are using them as inspiration.
We don’t know how strong a team Spurs are going to send and it’s a bit of a double-edged sword for us. We would love to get the opportunity to test ourselves against their best side including the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christen Eriksen. But on the other hand, our chances of winning the game would improve if those three players and more weren’t playing. Either way the club will make good money out of the game which is great news.
Before the big FA Cup tie we have a couple of league games to worry about. The league is our priority and rightly so, so we must make sure we don’t let the Spurs game distract us.
We proved that we were able to put it to the back of our minds with a great 2-1 victory away at Grimsby Town which leaves us a couple of points off the play-off positions and only four from the automatic places.
We thoroughly deserved the win and it was more comfortable than it sounded as we were 2-0 up with a couple of minute of normal time remaining and then we hung on for all three points.
This week we face an in-form side in the shape of the Harry Kewell-managed Crawley Town. They have won their last three games and are steadily climbing the table, so we have to put in a performance like we did last weekend.
The manager was able to strengthen the squad in the past week too with a couple of excellent signings coming in to make our squad look very strong. The competition for places is very high and everyone knows that we are only one mediocre performance away from another player getting a chance.
For some teams that might lead to nerves and some negativity, but we have a great team spirit and everyone is willing each player on to do.
If we can keep that team spirit and togetherness for the rest of the season, it could be a very memorable season for us because there is a lot of talent here too and that is a great combination to have.