Warnock tells Town to give it a go against Gunners

The parallels between the last time Huddersfield Town took on Arsenal in competitive action and this Sunday's eagerly-anticipated FA Cup encounter in north London are striking.

Not only are the Terriers this weekend looking to try and bridge the considerable gap between the third tier and the top flight, but the Gunners will once again boast an enviable array of star names that are strongly fancied to claim honours in the coming months.

The north London side are also, as they were when the clubs last met in 1993, under the charge of one of English football's most decorated managers with a CV including league titles and Cup triumphs aplenty.

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Arsenal's line-up under Arsene Wenger may have an altogether more exotic feel compared to the one that started against Huddersfield in the League Cup 18 years ago when Ian Wright, Paul Merson and Tony Adams helped the Londoners to a 6-1 aggregate triumph but that is more a reflection of how the game in this country has evolved.

Such similarities mean the size of the task facing Lee Clark come noon on Sunday is one that Neil Warnock, the man in charge of the Terriers in those two meetings with Arsenal, knows all about.

The Queens Park Rangers chief said: "When we got drawn against Arsenal, we were really excited as it gave us a chance to test ourselves against the best. You always want to get a top club and they don't come much better than Arsenal.

"Financially, the draw was also good news so it seemed a win, win situation for us."

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Such was the excitement generated by the League Cup second round draw that the first leg at Leeds Road attracted a bumper crowd of 14,275, the hope within the town being that Warnock's men could pull off an upset.

The reality, however, was rather different as a hat-trick by England striker Wright plus goals from Merson and Kevin Campbell helped the Premier League side effectively kill the tie with a 5-0 first leg victory.

Warnock recalls: "Ian Wright was absolutely amazing that night. I was sitting on the sidelines and couldn't believe the quality of the lad. He was world class. I always remember one of the goals, when he lobbed the goalkeeper, and it was all I could do not to clap. The goal was that good. You don't want to get a battering but there really was nothing we could do.

"The tie was over but I enjoyed the return at Highbury. Arsenal seemed to think they were going to get double figures but we led 1-0 for a long time and they only equalised near the end to rescue a 1-1 draw."

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After knocking out Leeds United after a replay in the third round, Arsenal will fancy their chances of claiming a second West Yorkshire scalp come Sunday but Warnock insists Town have nothing to lose.

He said: "It is slightly different to when I was at Huddersfield and we played Arsenal in that Arsene's approach is nothing like that of George Graham. For George, it was 'win at all costs' whereas Arsene seems to be more 'play well at all costs'.

"The league is the priority for Huddersfield so that means they can go down there and just give it a go.

"Personally, I don't think it would be a massive shock if Huddersfield got something.

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"The Cup has this ability to throw up shocks, as Arsenal found out that year (1992) when Wrexham beat them despite being bottom of the League."

Sunday's trip to The Emirates is not the only tie that has stirred the memories for Warnock, who was also in charge when the Terriers last faced Carlisle United over two legs with a trip to Wembley at stake.

His side triumphed 4-3 on aggregate after winning the first tie at Leeds Road 4-1 in the Auto Windscreens Trophy, now the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

This time, the tables are turned with Carlisle having won the first leg 4-0 at home ahead of the return a week on Tuesday.

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Warnock, whose Town side went on to lose to Swansea City on penalties in the shadows of the Twin Towers, said: "The morning after the first leg, I remember walking past the secretary's office in the old ground and he was booking all the buses for Wembley. I told him the tie wasn't over and, unfortunately, I was proved right.

"The game at Carlisle was the worst 90 minutes of my life. Carlisle scored twice in the first half-hour and we also lost our captain, Peter Jackson. It was a total nightmare and I think we even had to survive 11 minutes of stoppage time at the end.

"Experiences like that teach you that a tie is never over, no matter how bleak the picture looks – which is something the current team need to remember.

"The Carlisle players will, no matter what they are saying publicly, think deep down that it is all over after winning 4-0 last week.

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"Huddersfield have to play on that, get an early goal and then throw everything at Carlisle. It is not impossible."

Arsenal enjoy night on town

League Cup 2nd round, 1st leg, September 21, 1993 (Leeds Road, Huddersfield):

Arsenal 5 (Wright 3, 63, 82, Campbell 15, Merson 57)

Huddersfield Town: Francis, Trevitt, Billy (Collins 72), Starbuck, Hicks, Dyson, Dunn (Onuora 62), Robinson, Booth, Marsden, Wells.

Arsenal: Seaman, Keown, Winterburn, Linighan, Adams, Jenson (Hillier 78), Davis, Merson (Smith 78), McGoldrick, Campbell, Wright.