City defender Gary Doherty is banking on the Canaries’ winning mentality seeing them through tomorrow’s FA Cup trip to non-league minnows Paulton Rovers.
The back-in-favour centre-half has said that with City in such good form – with six wins from their last seven – they should have nothing to fear about tomorrow’s banana skin first round tie.
And although he admitted that the eighth-tier outfit will put them under the cosh, especially in the opening moments, Doherty has every confidence in Paul Lambert’s reborn outfit.
“We’ve just got to go there, do our job, and hopefully having the better players will see us through,” he told the press at Colney yesterday.
“This will be the lowest team I’ve played against but we’ve just got to go and enjoy it – it’s going to be a great occasion.
“The cameras will be looking for a giant killing. You know that in the first weekend of the FA Cup there are always going to be giant killings going on all over the place – we’ve just got to make sure we’re not one of them.
“We’re full of confidence at the minute because things are going well but we’ve got to prepare properly to get the right result.
“You don’t want to imagine losing. Because we’ve been winning all the time lately, we’ve got a winning mentality. Imagining losing doesn’t come into it.”
Some clubs have, in the past, seen the FA Cup as a distraction with promotion the be all and end all. Steve Coppell at Reading didn’t hide the fact that he would play weakened sides to keep his league XI as fresh as possible.
But Doherty believes that the two can go hand in hand. And the former Luton man sees a cup run as the perfect boost to City’s promotion push.
“If we lose then obviously it’s going to be a disaster because we want to have a good little cup run,” continued the former Republic of Ireland man.
“We’ve got another cup game on Tuesday as well and you want to stay in these competitions because it breeds confidence for the league.
“We’re on a good run and if you want to get promoted, you’ve got to win week in, week out. That includes cup games and it all helps the morale of the team.
“We want to win; we want to be in the next round – whether it’s 4-0 or 1-0, I don’t really care.”
Despite the huge gulf in status, Doherty is well aware that Rovers will be gunning for them in what will be the biggest day in Paulton history.
And with the nation – and plenty of managers and scouts – watching on ITV, their players will be busting a gut to impress.
“It will be a great time for them to showcase their talents. Where better to do it than on TV, in front of the nation? They can show off their skills and maybe try and impress clubs in a higher league.
“We know that in the first 20 minutes it is going to be a bit helter skelter. I’m guessing the pitch isn’t going to be great but we played on a terrible one at Stockport last week and I can’t imagine it will be worse than that.
“It’s all about how you prepare mentally – that’s why you get cup upsets. They probably don’t have any players that would get in our team but they are going to be going at it 100% and we’ve got to match that.”
The Winterfield Road venue will certainly be a culture shock for the City stars, who are used to the comforts of Carrow Road and Colney.
But as far as Doherty is concerned, it’s all part of the fun and games – just as long as the pitch measures up.
“I couldn’t care less about all that [the cramped changing rooms and small stadium]. The pitch is the main thing and if that’s half decent then it will be alright.”