Padraig Amond insists Newport County have not given much thought to Tottenham Hotspur before their FA Cup clash at Rodney Parade – for fear of being a goal down before they start.
County’s Irish striker says the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli have been far from their minds as they seek to achieve one of the greatest upsets in Welsh FA Cup history.
The fourth round tie on Saturday evening may have attracted huge attention on the prospect of Spurs and their wealth of Premier League talent pitching up at one of the most notorious playing surfaces in the Football League, but Amond says the squad have not focussed on the opposition.
“The game’s a free shot for us,” says the former Hartlepool striker.
“Nobody thought we had a chance against Leeds and some expect Spurs to put four or five past us. If we spent this week just looking at them and all that we’ll be up against we’d probably be a goal down going out there. But we believe we can win.
“The pitch is going to be a bit of a leveller, the dressing rooms won’t be quite as big as at Wembley. Nothing will be quite what they’re used to and we have to jump on that and make everything as interesting as possible.
“And shocks happen. Senegal beating France, Ireland and Italy, the most famous FA Cup one maybe is Wrexham and Arsenal, the Mickey Thomas free kick; these are things that you look at and hope you can be part of something too that people will be talking about years later.
Amond, 29, has scored 10 goals for County this season and played a key role in the club’s Cup run and League Two promotion bid.
But he has revealed that if it was not for the faith in him shown by Newport manager Mike Flynn, then he would never have made the move to Wales.
Last season, Amond was among the Hartlepool substitutes when he struck up a conversation with Flynn, who was on the bench during his time as the club’s player manager.
“I was at Hartlepool,” recalls the striker. “We were warming up and he asked me how come I wasn’t playing. I told him I didn’t know; it was Dave Jones’s first game in charge and nobody had said a word but I had played almost every game up until then.
“And he said that when they had seen the team sheet and that I wasn’t on it they were all buzzing. He said that if he was the manager, I’d be playing every week. That sort of stuck in my head.”
Now, he is within 90 minutes of the last 16 of the competition and even if County do not manage an upset, Amond believes the rewards are not just the £500,000 the club has made so far.
“This game has just captured the imagination of the town,” he says.
“We had nearly 6,000 there last Friday for the win over Crawley and there’ll be 10,000 there for Spurs. If we can keep even a few hundred more coming back it would be great.”