Curle calls on his Cobblers players 'to turn up' at Derby as they chase Manchester United prize

The scene is all set and the ingredients are all there for an FA Cup classic at Pride Park on Tuesday night - and Cobblers boss Keith Curle has told his players they now 'have to turn up' and do their bit.

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 7:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 8:00 am
Cobblers boss Keith Curle

Around 4,500 Town supporters are expected to travel for the fourth round replay against Sky Bet Championship hosts Derby County, all dreaming of a memorable giant-killing and the chance to take on Manchester United in the last 16 - almost exactly 50 years to the day since the club last reached the fifth round, taking on the Red Devils on that occasion too.

It will be the biggest following the club has taken on the road since more than 7,000 travelled to MK Dons for an FA Cup third round replay in 2016, and it is sure to be a great occasion against Wayne Rooney & Co.

Town set up the replay with an excellent performance in the original tie, drawing 0-0 with Phillip Cocu's side, and Curle is calling on his in-form players step up to the plate again to ensure they give those travelling fans something to be proud of.

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Ryan Watson and his fellow midfielders kept Derby County's Wayne Rooney quiet in the first game between the sides

"It's great knowing that we have got fantastic travelling support, that will be backing us and making the occasion exactly what it is, a cup tie," said Curle.

"We will have fantastic vocal support and the important thing is, we need to show up. We need to turn up and take our identity into the cup game."

Pride Park is a Premier League-standard stadium, and Curle knows it is going to be a huge occasion for his players, any of of whom won't have played in such surroundings before.

But he is backing them to rise to the occasion, and do the business where it matters, on the pitch.

"All the periphery, all the surroundings, will be completely foreign to some of our players because it is a fantastic stadium," said the Cobblers boss.

"There will be the approach to the stadium when you get there, the changing rooms, and welcome that we will no doubt get from Derby County as a football club, which I expect to be of the highest order.

"The important thing is, and our focus will be, is that pitch dynamics and dimensions don't change, it is a level playing field, and it is a cup tie."

Derby go into the game as huge favourites, and will be boosted by their impressive 4-0 win over Stoke City in the Championship on Friday night.

Curle knows the odds are stacked against him and his players, but he knows have a chance of creating an upset if they play to their best, and pointed to his team's performance in the League Cup first round match at Swansea City in August.

Town ended up losing the tie 3-1, but they were leading until the 80th minute, and he believes his team can take heart from that showing.

"It won't be a full house at Derby, but there will be a buzz because it is the FA Cup," said the Cobblers boss.

"Their supporters will be turning up with the expectancy of their team winning, and on paper it is a game that Derby should win, and win comfortably.

"With the things they have ticked in their favour, they should win the game, but we went to Swansea in the early part of the season and we gave a very good account of ourselves there.

"We went into that game, accepted the challenge, and put in a very good performance, and we have to do that again."