Shawn McCoulsky wants Manchester United or Chelsea, while manager Mike Flynn hopes to be paired with Liverpool – but both Newport County heroes will be happy with any money-spinning, glory-hunting tie when the FA Cup fourth round draw is made on Monday night.
Winning goalscorer McCoulsky and manager Flynn will join the rest of the Newport squad in waiting eagerly to see which opponent comes out of the hat following County’s memorable 2-1 victory over Leeds United at Rodney Parade on Sunday.
It was the kind of FA Cup tie that reminds fans why they go to grounds on freezing afternoons in extra layers of thermal underwear instead of watching on TV.
The atmosphere was strictly old school, as was the comeback victory County produced as they bravely recovered from being a goal behind with 15 minutes to go.
“It was a brilliant, brilliant feeling to get that goal,” said McCoulksy. “The gaffer told me to go on and try to effect the game as much as I could. It was my birthday on Saturday, so this was a belated present to myself.
“I can’t remember much about the goal, but it is one of the best I’ve ever scored. To kick Leeds out of the FA Cup is what dreams are made of. Now we’d like one of the big teams – a Manchester United or Chelsea.”
The victory was a triumph for former Newport midfielder Flynn, who only took charge at Rodney Parade in March of last year and proved his worth by guiding Newport to safety in League Two, turning around a team that were 11 points adrift when he stepped up.
Flynn’s team had lost 5-1 away to Leeds in the Carabao Cup earlier this season, but this time they were far more assertive and with more composure they would have levelled sooner.
“I hope we get some luck with the draw and get one of the big boys away because it will be big for this football club,” said Flynn.
“It’s going to be tough for any football club coming here because shocks can happen and I am sure there will be plenty more shocks.
“I would love Liverpool at Anfield; that would be the dream for me being a Liverpool fan,” said Flynn.
“This is a much better feeling than winning the last game of last season to stay in League Two.
“We have beaten a Championship team and to be honest, I don’t want to be winning relegation battles, I want to be winning FA Cup ties against teams like Leeds and be at the right end of the table.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half and the goal we conceded was a bit unfortunate. We had a couple of half chances, but we kept going, and I told them we didn’t have to win the game in the first 10 minutes of the second half. We had to keep our composure.
“We did that and caused them some problems with crosses into the box. They made a lot of changes for this game, but they still had a lot of quality players out there earning good money.”
Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen had admitted his team had deserved little more than their defeat, but refused to concede that his decision to make so many changes had proved the decisive factor.
“We expected more and even though I made changes it should have been enough to pass through to the fourth round,” he said.
“Against Burnley, I made 10 changes and it was the perfect performance. Against Leicester I made 10 changes and we did very well so why not today? They know what the FA Cup means. If they don’t know what it means they aren’t in the right job.”
Christiansen claimed he had not seen the spitting incident involving Spaniard Samuel Saiz – who was sent off in stoppage time – but defended his player and added: “If it is right why he got the red card it’s a problem but I believe that he didn’t do it.”