Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has stressed tonight’s FA Cup fourth-round replay at Newport County should not be regarded as a David against Goliath contest.
Newport, who are 14th in League Two, held Championship promotion-chasers Boro to a 1-1 draw in the original tie at the Riverside, having come through round three with a 2-1 home win over Leicester City.
They also produced a surprise result against Premier League opponents in the competition last season when they drew 1-1 at home with Tottenham Hotspur.
Pulis, who grew up in Newport and played for the Exiles, said: “Spurs and Leicester have gone there and haven’t won, so that says everything about the spirit that Newport have got in the team, about the stadium and everything else.
“I’m not so sure it’s David and Goliath because they have played two Premier League teams there and not been beaten. So I think we have to give them a little bit more respect than that.
“It’s a proper old-fashioned cup tie. Everybody will be at it. It will be a tough game and one that we have to make sure we go there and understand.”
The prize for the winner is a home clash with Premier League champions Manchester City in the last 16.
Pulis said there were lots of his family and friends set to be at today’s game, adding: “I’ve run out of tickets, so I can’t give any more away.”
He added: “The area I was brought up in, which is on the other side of the river to the ground, was a fantastic area to be brought up in. Everybody looked after everybody, it was a fantastic community.”
But he also emphasised his focus tonight would be on the match, saying: “We’re flying down, I’ll stay in a hotel room for an hour, I’ll go to the game and we’re flying straight back, because we have Leeds on Saturday.
“I won’t be going out and having a drink and going over here, doing this and that. I won’t even see the place I was brought up in. I haven’t got time to do that. My life is absolutely fixed on trying to get the best results I possibly can for this football club.”
Shrewsbury Town’s Sam Ricketts is another manager who will be returning to a club he played for as the League One strugglers take on Wolves tonight.
It is also set to be a Molineux return for Shrews midfielder Dave Edwards, who was with Wolves from 2008 to 2017.