Wilder says Cobblers have to get balance right to pull off FA Cup shock

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder
Cobblers boss Chris Wilder

Manager Chris Wilder says his players have to strike the balance between having fire in their belly and keeping a cool head when they take on Milton Keynes Dons in Tuesday’s night’s big FA Cup clash.

Town travel to stadiummk for a huge third round replay against Sky Bet Championship side Dons (ko 7.45pm), with the winners sealing a money-spinning home clash against Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea in round four.

A big crowd is expected and the Cobblers will be roared by a staggering 7,000 travelling supporters.

It is sure to be an electric atmosphere and Wilder admits it can be easy for such occasions to get the better of some players, but he doesn’t anticipate it will be a problem for his team.

The Cobblers are getting more and more used to big games this season, with Sixfields regularly selling out, and the team were impressive winners over Sky Bet League One high-flyers Coventry City in round one of the FA Cup in November.

And Wilder is sure the experience in his team will ensure the team handles the occasion on Tueesday.

“We look at our team and we have Marc Richards, Dave Buchanan, Nicky Adams and others, right the way through it there are lads that have had success in their careers and promotions,” said the Cobblers boss.

“The big games don’t faze them, and they know that when they have to produce performances, when they have to up their game, they have the ability to do that.

“The players don’t live in a bunker, they don’t live in a shell, they know what is going on and they know we are going to be taking 7,000 punters.

“They are going into a really good stadium, against a really good club, and the game will take care of itself.

“I am really looking forward to taking my team there, and the players will really step forward and want to go and play, so there will be no motivation needed.

“We need to earn our money at places like Dagenham, Accrington Stanley, and matches like Tuesday and the one at Newcastle earlier in the season take care of themselves.

“The players will be buzzing and the biggest thing is that we make sure we have cool, calm heads.

“We need to have a bit of fire in our belly when we haven’t got the ball, but nice and calm when we have.

“We have to make sure we play the game and we are in control of our emotions, because it is easy to drift away from it when you are playing in big games.

“We have to show that if we are going to get results in the big games towards the end of the season, these are the type of games where we have to come through, and play well.

“If Dons play really and we play really well, they should win, but first and foremost we have to look after ourselves and put on a good performance.”

The Cobblers will be forced into at least two changes from the team that started Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge, with cup-tied pair James Collins and Lee Martin dropping out.

They will be replaced in the starting line-up by Marc Richards and Ricky Holmes, while Wilder is hopeful Alfie Potter will haave recovered from his rib injury to take his place among the substitutes.

Lawson D’Ath definitely misses out due to his groin strain.