Boss Chris Wilder admits he was dreaming of the Cobblers drawing one of the Premier League big guns in the third round of the FA Cup - but says he is happy with the ‘exciting’ home tie the club has landed against Milton Keynes Dons.
The Cobblers will play their neighbours from across the Buckinghamshire border at Sixfields in early January, and Wilder says the tie has enhanced what he calls a ‘massive’ run of fixtures for his team.
“I believe that every team in the bottom two divisions and those outside the Football League, and even teams in the Championship, would like an Arsenal away, a Manchester United away, Manchester City away, Chelsea away, Tottenham away, Liverpool away, Everton away,” admitted Wilder.
“That is just natural and understandable. We all dreamed of that, but there are only so many teams can get those ties, so it is what it is.
“It’s a local derby and we are at home.
“Milton Keynes had a fantastic season last time and deservedly went up into the Championship, and it is a cup tie, we will give it a go and it is an opportunity for us to progress.
“They will be thinking they will be able to turn us over, but we fancy our chances.
“We will deal with that on January 9, and we have a massive period coming up now, some big games, and games we are really excited about.
“We have out ourselves in a great position and the games now take on even more importance.
“You look at the fixture list up to that (the MK Dons game) and even beyond that, there are some fabulous games to look forward to.
“We are going well, we are excited about the fixture list coming up, with the Milton Keynes game in that.
“We have a home game in the Cup, it will be a full house, and everybody wants the ultimate glamour tie of Manchester United, but it wasn’t to be.
“We have got a really good, exciting tie, and we will respect the opposition but won’t be overawed by the challenge that is going to be put in front of us.”
Milton Keynes boss Karl Robinson, whose team are struggling at the wrong end of the Sky Bet Championship, is happy to have received a local tie against lower-league opposition, but admitted the match is not currently high on his list of priorities.
“It’s local to us, which helps and we’re looking forward to it,” said Robinson. “With all they’ve been through recently, Chris Wilder has done a wonderful job.
“But with all due respect to the FA Cup, we’re not focusing on it too much yet.
“They’re not a team we’re worried about yet, we’ll worry about it nearer the time.”