Grant aims to ruin Tamworth's big day

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant has vowed to ruin Tamworth's FA Cup dream - insisting City won't be bit-part players in the non-league side's big day out in front of the TV cameras.


Peter Grant has vowed to ruin Tamworth's FA Cup dream - insisting City won't be bit-part players in the non-league side's big day out in front of the TV cameras.

It will be reality TV, not fantasy football.

“We are not there for people to sell hats and scarves and commemorative stuff - we have to make sure we win the game,” he said.

Millions will watch on TV as the Conference side attempt to become the first non-league side for half a century to beat the Canaries.

But while Tamworth may have missed out on a Premiership draw for the second season in a row after last year's heroics against Stoke, Grant insists the Canaries are still a big draw for a club who will run out in front of almost 4,000 fans - treble their best gates.

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“They were probably looking for a Chelsea, but Norwich is a big club as well,” Grant said.

“I think they are very fortunate to have someone like Norwich coming along. If they disrespect us, no problem - we are there to win the game.

“We have to make sure they get knocked out at this stage so they don't get the opportunity, that's all I'm concerned about. Whether Tamworth respect it or don't respect it, it's up to them.”

Grant is convinced he won't need to carry out his threat of an humiliating early substitution should any players show a lack of respect for Tamworth.

“I know that won't happen here,” he said. “I can guarantee it won't happen, it won't be allowed to happen.

“I know managers keep saying that, but that's a fact. I don't wait until half-time, I will change it if it needs changing after five minutes. If somebody feels it is going to be a walk in the park they can forget about that.

“I know our team will be well prepared, we know what we have to do, they know we're a team who will turn up and respect them and a team that will turn up with no excuses if we don't win the game.

“Approach the game in the right manner because sometimes it is more of a mental thing than a performance thing. If players go out there thinking it is going to be easy it will soon change very, very quickly.”

Those excuses won't include facilities at The Lamb - or the pitch.

“Football pitches are never the same,” he said. “You know you have got to win on them no matter where it is. It is not about the pitch, it is the way you perform on the pitch. We will go there and there is no excuse, if we don't perform well we don't win the game, it is down to the fact that we have not been good enough on the day.

“The preparations will be the same as if we were playing Manchester United. We want to win ever game we play, we want to play well every game we play, so I am out there to win it.

“That is the reason why the television cameras are there - they want us to go over on that banana skin and we have to make sure that's not the case.

“It is easy for the opposition to lift themselves. We have to make sure we know it is going to be tight and a good atmosphere, which is what the FA Cup is all about.”

Tamworth are expecting around 3,800 fans to squeeze into The Lamb - and Grant knows there is one sure way to silence them.

“The most important thing for us is to put the ball into the back of the net - that's the best way to quieten them down,” he said.

Grant leads a team in an FA Cup tie for the first time - just eight months ago after his dream of the ultimate glory was shattered when, as assistant manager, West Ham were beaten in a penalty shoot-out by Liverpool.

The pain clearly hasn't gone away.

“I was fortunate enough to get to the final last year,” he said. “We got all the way there and had the disappointment of losing in the final. People say it was a great final - try telling me that at half past five that evening after we had lost the game on penalties.

“It wasn't the greatest feeling in the world - so I want to start in this FA Cup and try and put a run together in this one.”

t Armchair fans can watch Norwich's FA Cup third round clash at Tamworth on BBC1. Coverage starts at 12.10pm, kick-off is 12.30pm. BBC Radio Norfolk's coverage begins at noon, with live commentary by Chris Goreham and analysis from ex-Canary star Neil Adams.