Posh boss Darren Ferguson has promised that his London Road side will have “a right good go” at the Canaries tomorrow as Norwich make the short trip across the Fens for this weekend’s FA Cup third round clash.
Both managers have promised changes to their usual league line-ups; both – one suspects – would readily concede that the cup is not their first priority.
Peterborough have Championship survival firmly in mind as they find themselves only out of the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference.
And while City still enjoy a little breathing space over the Premier League’s strugglers, their recent four-game losing sequence coupled to a recent spate of injuries will have boss Chris Hughton husbanding his resources very carefully.
It wasn’t, for example, even a moot point as to whether he risks Grant Holt’s hamstrings this weekend – or keeps the skipper firmly wrapped up in cotton wool ahead of the visit of Newcastle United. Cotton wool, every time. Alongside Steve Morison (thigh) and Steven Whittaker (hip).
Certainly Ferguson is expecting a much-changed Norwich team to arrive at London Road.
“I’m sure Chris (Hughton) will switch his team about, but his squad is much of a muchness anyway,” the Posh chief told the Peterborough Telegraph.
“They are a team without superstars and the players on the subs bench are usually as good as the ones on the pitch,” he added.
“And Norwich will probably play the same way no matter what team they pick. It could be we get a bit more of the ball than you’d normally expect against a Premier League side, but we will have to concentrate at all times because this level of opponent can turn defence into attack in an instant.
“At the end of the day we want a good cup run so we will be having a right good go at Norwich.”
For the supporters of both clubs, the magic of the FA Cup still lingers. And the game is, after all, as close as Norwich get to an East Anglian derby these days as Ipswich Town continue to struggle to find their way out of the second tier.
So Hughton knows that the travelling Yellow & Green Army will travel more in expectation than in hope – even if bitter experience will warn against expecting an easy afternoon out.
“I’m led to believe that we have 5,000 plus fans at the game, which will be great for us and will certainly give us a lift, and we’ve got to make sure we put in the type of performance that gives them a lift too,” said the City chief.
He was, however, making little secret as to where his priorities lay.
“It goes without saying that it [The FA Cup] is not our biggest priority – that is making sure that we retain Barclays Premier League status,” he told the club’s official website.
“But in some ways it is a release from that, and it’s always exciting going into a cup competition irrespective of whether you’re at home or away. It also gives you an opportunity to use your squad, and that doesn’t take anything away from what will be a good footballing day.”
Hughton has already made it clear that three of his lesser-used players – Elliott Ward, Jacob Butterfield and Simon Lappin – will travel; all three having recently returned from loan spells in the Football League.
David Fox is another one who could be given a rare run out – the Canary playmaker having found himself stuck in traffic behind Bradley Johnson, Alexander Tettey and Jonny Howson.
Mark Bunn will also have a day off with Declan Rudd long booked for the keeper’s gig; Jed Steer taking the keeper’s slot on the bench.
The big question is, as ever, who leads the line. On-loan Spurs teenager Harry Kane started against the Hammers and is eligible to play this weekend with Simeon Jackson the other alternative. The two could be paired together if Hughton opted to rest Wes Hoolahan ahead of Premier League fights ahead – which might prove to be the simplest answer.