Brian Barry-Murphy says his Rochdale players are giddy with excitement ahead of Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round replay at Newcastle.
The League One club earned a trip to St James’ Park when 40-year-old striker Aaron Wilbraham scored a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Spotland earlier this month.
It is a second glamorous away day for Dale this season after they played Manchester United – and took them to penalties – in the Carabao Cup in September.
Dale manager Barry-Murphy told the PA news agency: “Since Saturday’s game everyone’s been talking about what’s going to come on Tuesday night, and obviously there’s a giddy excitement amongst our players of anticipation.
“The first game at our home stadium was amazing really and felt kind of like a cup final appearance for our town. Hopefully that will be the same again.
“We’ve brought huge numbers to our away games this season and Old Trafford was probably the pinnacle, so I think the general feeling among the players is, if we can get anything like that support again it will be a memorable occasion irrespective of the result.”
Barry-Murphy believes his side can really trouble Newcastle if they produce a similar level of performance.
He said: “We’re very confident we can play even better and give a better account of ourselves and make everyone proud.
“But the big variable – and big problem – is probably that Newcastle will too, and be even better in their home stadium.”
Championship Middlesbrough are also hoping to claim a big scalp as they travel to Tottenham as a result of their 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium.
Boro manager Jonathan Woodgate, a former Spurs player, said at a press conference: “It’s a step up in class when you play Spurs. Hopefully the players take it in their stride and not play the occasion.
“My players will give it everything when they are out there.”
Woodgate added that goalkeeper Darren Randolph would travel with the squad with his move back to former club West Ham not yet finalised.
League One Tranmere host top-flight opposition in Watford after their dramatic 3-3 draw with the Hornets last time. Rovers trailed 3-0 after 34 minutes at Vicarage Road before producing an unlikely comeback.
Fellow League One side Blackpool are also at home as Championship Reading visit Bloomfield Road. The Royals made wholesale changes for the 2-2 draw between the sides at the Madejski Stadium and could do again.
But Seasiders boss Simon Grayson told the club’s website: “We need to prepare for what we can do to win the game and not focus all our energy on what the opposition are going to do.
“We need to pay attention on how we can improve as a team and get the victory that is required to go through to the next round.”
Other replays to take place on Tuesday see Coventry face Bristol Rovers at St Andrews and Shrewsbury host Bristol City.
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