Ebene Magazine – Former Northern Ireland international Michael Duff is hoping Cheltenham Town can cause « the biggest surprise in FA Cup history ».

Ebene Magazine - Former Northern Ireland international Michael Duff is hoping Cheltenham Town can cause "the biggest surprise in FA Cup history".

Belfast Telegraph



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Robert Jones

Former Northern Irish defender Michael Duff believes Cheltenham would make FA Cup history if they caused a monumental shock to Manchester City.

Due to the disparity in the cup, the pursuers of Sky Bet League Two are 72 places below the six-time winner City.

The giants of the Premier League from Pep Guardiola go unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions in Jonny Rocks Stadium – after conceding no goals in their last five games – and manager Duff knows the task Cheltenham is facing.

« This would be the biggest surprise in the history of the Cup, just because of their dominance over the Premier League- Teams, « he said.

 » One of their players’ weekly wages would probably pay our entire payroll for a couple of months, but that’s football. There’s always the belongings. « 

 » Your form was not in the charts. It takes a lot of luck, out-of-the-box players and Man City to have a real day off. « 

 » I was on both ends of the spectrum in the Premier League against Manchester City We (Burnley) have them (2015) defeated 1-0 when they were champions, but I also failed 3-0 after six.  » Minutes and 5-0 at halftime.

« The game should have been canceled due to the weather, but no one in Burnley wanted to abandon it because we didn’t want to go through that chase again and we lost 6-1. « 

 » It was a huge shock when we beat them and were in the same league. « 

Duff is realistic but insists that the Robins do whatever it takes to make Guardiola’s side comfortable and none Try tricks to gain an advantage.

« They will change clothes in a bar, we will make it as welcoming as possible, and the only thing they will like is the field. You will not be a Ronnie Radford- Get scene where it’s a plowed field.  » he said.

« You will be able to play on it – we will not train on it to make it as bad as possible. We pride ourselves on playing good football, we will not ruin the pitch for this single game. »

In addition to his active career, he has a personal relationship with Duff, who lived with Burnley in Manchester for 12 years after moving from Cheltenham in 2004.

Sons Tommy and Jack were both born there. Tommy, 12, is a City fan, while Jack (10) supports Manchester United.

« It’s a double-edged sword, they hum for the game but they can’t be there, » he said. « They’re both Mancs, they’re not fame hunters. You can see Old Trafford from the room they were both born in.

 » You chose City and you chose United. They attend online school lessons and meetings and that’s all they talk about. We just hope the club can make them proud. « 

Duff is also confident that goalkeeper Josh Griffiths can recover from conceding a goal against Newport.

Tom King’s wind-assisted kick – which now sets a world record for the longest goal scored – came into play in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw, but Duff believes the 19-year-old, on loan from West Brom, will be okay.

He said: « One of the Josh’s strongest trait is his mentality. A lot of young goalkeepers are worried, want to get involved and show how good they are.

« It doesn’t happen very often, but unfortunately it has happened to him. That’s why he’s here to resolve these mistakes for us, not his parents’ club to do so hopefully it doesn’t happen again when he comes back. « 

Belfast Telegraph



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