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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 06:50 GMT
Minnows aim for shocks in FA Cup
Tamworth's Mark Cooper and Nuneaton's Roger Ashby
Footballing minnows Nuneaton, Tamworth and Burton Albion hope to keep alive their FA Cup dreams by defying the odds in their third-round replays this week.

Non-League outfit Nuneaton travel to Middlesbrough on Tuesday, having held the Premiership giants to a 1-1 draw.

Meanwhile, Conference side Tamworth entertain Championship outfit Stoke after a goalless match on 7 January.

On Wednesday, Burton Albion head to Old Trafford, hoping to build on their 0-0 draw against Manchester United.

Conference side Burton deservedly earned a lucrative FA Cup replay with a resolute performance in defence last week.

We've put Nuneaton on the map for the right reasons
Nuneaton boss Roger Ashby
Wayne Rooney twice forced saves from Burton goalkeeper Saul Deeney, while central defenders Darren Tinson and Ryan Austin made brave blocks time and time again.

But a trip to 68,200-capacity Old Trafford will be a daunting task for Burton, who go in search of a fourth-round tie at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Nuneaton also intend to cash in on FA Cup success when they head to the Riverside - after Gez Murphy's late penalty earned them a deserved replay.

But Roger Ashby was not impressed by their 3-0 mauling from fellow Nationwide North side Redditch at the weekend and the Nuneaton boss knows his side will have to be in top form to reach a fourth-round meeting with Coventry.

"Obviously, players' minds were somewhere else," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"Hopefully, we've got it out of our system and we will go out there at Middlesbrough and put on a good performance.

"On paper, we've got no chance whatsoever - it's a massive call for us.

We're not silly enough to think we have a realistic chance of winning.
Tamworth boss Mark Cooper
"We've put Nuneaton on the map for the right reasons. We'll have to perform fantastically well just to get a result."

Tamworth are also realistic about their Cup chances, despite holding Stoke to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium after keeper Scott Bevan pulled off a string of fine saves.

But Tamworth boss Mark Cooper believes his side are facing plenty of pressure from their fans.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "The fans have seen what we've done at Stoke and they'll expect us to win at home.

"But we're not silly enough to think we have a realistic chance of winning.

"We know Stoke - if Stoke turn up and fancy it, they win the game - barring miracles.

"But if they're not quite right, that's how you get Cup shocks and anything can happen.

"We're part-time football players who work for a living and it's difficult for us to compete fitness-wise against Championship players but on any given occasion we could match them."

The winner of the replay wil take on Barnsley or Walsall in the next round.

Interview: Tamworth player-boss Mark Cooper

Interview: Cheltenham boss John Ward

Interview: Nuneaton boss Roger Ashby

Tamworth v Stoke
16 Jan 06 |  FA Cup
Middlesbrough v Nuneaton
16 Jan 06 |  FA Cup
BBC to show Man Utd/Burton replay
11 Jan 06 |  Match of the Day


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