Terriers to show Gunners respect without any fear

Huddersfield Town captain Peter Clarke knows all about stunning a Premier League club on home soil in the FA Cup so insists tomorrow's daunting trip to Arsenal should hold no fears.

The 29-year-old will lead the Terriers out at the Emirates Stadium knowing full well that the League One club are massive underdogs for the fourth round tie.

Bookmakers SkyBet price Town at a massive 14-1 to win the tie but Clarke, having netted the stoppage-time equaliser that earned Southend United a Cup replay against eventual winners Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two years ago, is adamant the Yorkshire side must not feel overawed.

He said: "My goal against Chelsea (to earn Southend a 1-1 draw) shows it can be done. It was a great result for us that day and a great team effort. Fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time and I managed to do enough to guide it into the corner.

"It is part of the magic of Cup competitions that teams from League One, League Two or even the Conference can get a result against a team from a higher league, even the Premier League.

"There is a massive amount of respect in the dressing room for the team we are about to play but certainly no fear."

Arsenal are already through to one final following the midweek 3-0 win over Ipswich Town that booked a Carling Cup showdown with Birmingham City on Sunday, February 27.

Clarke watched Wednesday's game with the Tractor Boys at home on television and admits it was difficult to pinpoint a chink in the armour of Arsene Wenger's men.

The defender said: "I was looking for the weaknesses obviously – so I turned it off after about five minutes! I am sure I wasn't the only one who had a look at the game to look at players that we are possibly going to play against. Mr Wenger has got a decent side there.

"But I still believe we can go down to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday and enjoy it, play some free-flowing football and maybe cause another upset."

Arsenal boast an impressive record on home soil in the FA Cup under Wenger, having lost just once – when Rod Wallace scored the only goal of the game for Leeds in 1997's fourth round – at either Highbury or the Emirates Stadium.

Since that defeat, the Gunners have remained unbeaten for 29 home Cup ties – a record that underlines the size of the task awaiting Huddersfield in front of their travelling army of 5,188 fans tomorrow lunchtime.

Clarke, however, insists all is not lost for Town and points to his own experience of being on the wrong end of an upset when playing for Everton when the Premier League side were beaten by Shrewsbury Town in 2003.

He said: "It is not particularly nice and it is something that sticks with you and you can use it as motivation as well. You don't want to be on the receiving end of one of those giant-killing acts.

"People remember it. I was only a young player at Everton and you are expected to beat Shrewsbury away. But that is what the Cup is like, it throws up strange results.

"We are hoping that we can be one of those strange results."

Arsenal earned a place in the fourth round by beating Leeds in a replay at Elland Road after the first game in the capital had finished 1-1, the Premier League club being rescued on their own patch by a last-minute penalty by Cesc Fabregas.

Asked if Town could take inspiration from the manner in which their Yorkshire neighbours made the Gunners sweat, Clarke said: "Leeds nearly caused an upset themselves and that would have given us a fierce Yorkshire derby (in the fourth round).

"But, to me, what Arsenal showed in beating Leeds was not only that they have got the quality but also determination and fighting spirit. That has sometimes been questioned. They are becoming more of a complete side now so we are under no illusions it is going to be very, very tough."

Such is the size of squad at Wenger's disposal that predicting who will be in the starting line-up for the tie is difficult.

In the midweek win over Ipswich, for instance, the attack was led by Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie, while against Leeds at Elland Road the Dane was joined by 10-goal Marouane Chamakh.

For Clarke, however, whoever starts up front will provide a big test and one he is eagerly looking forward to having kept Didier Drogba quiet when Southend drew with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 2009.

The Town captain said: "In the third round a couple of years ago, it was Mr Drogba we were up against and he is certainly one of the top strikers in the Premier League and probably the world.

"We were fortunate enough to keep them to one that day and we gave them a little scare. But their quality showed through in the end (Chelsea won the replay 4-1) and they were able to go on and progress to, ultimately, win the Cup that year."

Yorkshire's only other FA Cup representatives Sheffield Wednesday host Hereford United today.

Clark's toughest managerial test

HUDDERSFIELD manager Lee Clark is relishing pitting his wits against Arsene Wenger tomorrow.

"It's the toughest challenge of my managerial career but not the biggest because our aim this season is to get to the Championship," he said.

"But it's the most exciting so far because of where we are going, who we are playing against and who my opposite number is.

"It's right up there as one of the biggest and best occasions for the football club for a long time.

"It's a great opportunity for my players and for everybody involved with the club because we get to enjoy the day and experience playing at one of the best stadiums in world football and against some of the best individuals, as they have shown on many occasions."

Back to the top of the page