Sport Soccer

Monday 20 January 2020

Irishman Brian Barry-Murphy relishing the chance to claim a place in FA Cup folklore by beating Newcastle

Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy, son of Cork legend Jimmy. Photo: Getty Images
Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy, son of Cork legend Jimmy. Photo: Getty Images

Jim van Wijk

Irishman Brian Barry-Murphy hopes Rochdale will make the most of a "real unique opportunity" after doing things the hard way to secure a home FA Cup third-round tie against Premier League Newcastle.

Dale needed a replay in both previous ties to progress and now have their sights set on a memorable upset when the Toon Army descend on Spotland.

"It is amazing that we got this home draw because of the efforts the players put in," boss Barry-Murphy said on the club website.

"We had to do it the hard way. We did not play well against Boston and probably didn't against Wrexham (in the first round) as well. We had to find a way to win.

"You can sense the atmosphere around the town is very similar to what we had earlier in the season when we went to Old Trafford (in the Carabao Cup).

"To have those occasions where the whole town gets to come together and show what we are and get that excitement among the people of all different ages and communities is a real unique opportunity."

Port Vale travel to Manchester City, where an old Twitter post from veteran forward Tom Pope could come back to haunt him.

Reflecting on the performance of England defender John Stones during the Nations Cup defeat to Holland last summer, Pope said he would "love to play" against him every week, adding he would "get 40 a season".

After the draw conjured up a potential showdown with the defender, Pope posted a tongue-in-cheek reply when reminded of his earlier social message.

"In them 6 months he's improved dramatically and I think he's the best centre half in the world," he said.

Pope, though, is still eager to go head to head with the England international.

"He is physically not the strongest centre-half," he said in an interview with the Guardian. "He is a ball-playing centre-half.

"That is not a criticism of him but, as a target man, if you are Andy Carroll or Peter Crouch, they would all do the same thing and try and bully him and rough him up. I'd stand by that."

League Two Newport travel to Millwall having ended the FA Cup dreams of non-league Maldon & Tiptree.

Manager Michael Flynn said in the South Wales Argus: "It's a good opportunity to go to a Championship club and show what we can do."

League One Tranmere will be out to capitalise on any complacency from Watford, whose focus is very much on top-flight survival.

Rovers midfielder Neil Danns said on the club website: "You have seen some teams even in lower leagues than us get giant killings, so it is not out of the ordinary that we can't do that."

Peterborough travel to Burnley, with Posh boss Darren Ferguson urging his players "to express themselves against a Premier League team".

Luton boss Graeme Jones is hoping for a lift when the Championship's bottom team head to Bournemouth, who are facing their own Premier League struggles.

Sheffield Wednesday will seek a response following three successive league defeats when they head to Brighton. Championship strugglers Wigan head to high-flying Leicester, while Huddersfield are at Southampton.

Fulham host Aston Villa, while Preston boss Alex Neil will be up against former club Norwich, having guided the Canaries into the Premier League via the play-offs in 2015.

Bristol City host Shrewsbury, Cardiff take on Carlisle and Fleetwood play Portsmouth.

There are all-Championship ties between Birmingham and Blackburn and Stoke against Brentford.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Oxford play Hartlepool, Reading host Blackpool and Rotherham tackle Hull.

PA Media

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