Graham Westley insists Peterborough United are not travelling to the Hawthorns tomorrow (January 30) for their fourth round FA Cup tie against Premier League West Brom just to make the numbers up.
The Posh boss believes his side have plenty to lose against top-flight so he’s determined to make sure defeat is not on the agenda.
Westley has a big FA Cup giant-killing on his managerial CV. He was boss of League Two Stevenage when they beat top-flight Newcastle 3-1 in a third round tie in 2011.
“This is not just a nice day out for our club,” Westley stated. “We are not going there to enjoy the day, we are going there to win the match.
“It won’t be easy of course. There are reasons why players play in the Premier League and one of them is consistency.
“But consistency doesn’t apply in the FA Cup. We just need to be better than them on the day. That’s our challenge and it’s one we are looking forward to.
“People will say we have nothing to lose, but I don’t buy into that. We have plenty to lose because we want to be playing in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
“I took my non-league Farnborough side to Highbury to play Arsenal once and it was great to hear Arsene Wenger praise my team’s ability, fitness and bravery after the game.
“It was also great to see Bergkamp, Wilthord and Pires come off the bench to play against us, but at the end of the day I felt humiliated because my team lost 5-1.
“I don’t want a plucky defeat and a good losing display, I want us to win and that’s the message I will give to the players.
“I know these Premier League sides can be beaten.
“Before we played Newcastle at Stevenage I asked the players to work out how to beat them 5-0. It was a psychological test really, as achieving 20% of the target would give us the win.
“The players took the question seriously and came up with some ideas and we won 3-1.
“It will be a different team talk on Saturday as it’s different players against a different side, but it shows what can be done if the approach is positive
“Obviously if we play like we did against Burton (January 26) we will struggle. West Brom play like Burton, but they are two levels higher.
“I felt we lacked leadership and experience against Burton so hopefully we will have Michael Bostwick back and Lawrie Wilson might be involved at the weekend.”
Wilson, whose loan deal from Bolton expires at the weekend, and Bostwick, who has not played in 2016 because of injury, both played for Stevenage in their famous win over Newcastle. Bostwick scored one of the goals.
Westley is intrigued by the team West Brom boss Tony Pulis will field tomorrow.
Westley said: “I know Tony is on the record as saying he wants to take West Brom to Wembley.
“But they play Swansea in the Premier League next Tuesday and he might see that game as more important and trust his squad depth to get past us. Tony is a top manager and a winner so he will be desperate to win the game, but it will be interesting to see what team he picks.
“If they were watching us on Tuesday night he might think he can leave the job to his under 21s, but he will want to win the game for sure.”
Pulis has been in charge at the Hawthorns for just over 12 months. The Baggies have won 18 and lost 17 of their matches under his care.