Boss Rob Page declared himself delighted with the Cobblers pulling out a home draw against footballing superpower Manchester United in the third round of the EFL Cup, and admitted ‘they don’t come much bigger than that’.
Northampton will host Jose Mourinho’s men at Sixfields on either September 20 or 21, and the glamour tie is just reward for the Cobblers knocking another Premier League side in West Bromwich Albion out of the competition on Tuesday.
The Cobblers were 4-3 penalty shootout winners against the Baggies after drawing the match 2-2 after extra-time, and they learned of the dream date with Manchester United when the third round draw was made on Sky Sports News on Wednesday night.
“We were all glued to the TV to see the draw, and it is really pleasing,” said Page, who was a Manchester United fan as a boy.
“We wanted a big club, and they don’t come much bigger than Manchester United, and to have them at our place as well is fantastic for the supporters.
“Credit to the players, because they deserve it as well, but the message to them is that we aren’t in the competition to make the numbers up.
“We have earned the right to be where we are at this stage of the competition, and we now have to go and give a good account of ourselves.”
The draw was made by Paul Walsh and Iain Dowie, with the latter struggling with his words at the crucial momentas he pulled out United’s number, with Page saying: “You saw the numbers come out, and the big clubs go in, and then we obviously got the home draw before there was a bit of a stumble when he said it.
“But the Manchester United badge popped up straight away, so we were pleased because it is great for the club, the supporters and the players, but I can’t emphasise enough that it is now full focus now on doing the job.”
Page played in FA Cup and League Cup semi-finals as a player, so has many great cup memories, and admits he is pleased to bring a big night of football so early in his time as Northampton manager.
“I had great experiences as a player in both the cup competitions, and it is something you want as a manager, as coaches, players and supporters,” he said.
“So to bring something like that now to this football club is fantastic and something that is great to be part of, but like I have said we will be giving it everything to progress further in this competition.”