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Ferguson pre-Stoke

8 January 2016

Gaffer eyes up Third Round Cup shock.

Darren Ferguson said he could feel the buzz about Doncaster ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup Third Round tie with Premier League Stoke City.

It is the first time the town will have hosted top flight opposition for five years and the Scot said the oldest club competition in the world had a “different” presence about it.

“It’s different, there’s no question it’s different. At our level, when you get to the Third Round and get a Premier League tie then it’s different and you get that buzz and the whole town’s talking about it,” Ferguson smiled.

“It’s a fantastic trophy and it’s got good memories for me.

“There’s one thing for certain this weekend and that is that there’ll be a cup shock, I just hope it’s us.”

Ferguson said he had reminded his troops of their duties in front of a capacity crowd, bearing in mind the Boxing Day disappointment at home to local rivals Scunthorpe United.

“It adds a different sort of pressure, the game against Scunthorpe was a big game because it was a local derby on Boxing Day and we had quite a large crowd and we didn’t play to where we can so there’s a responsibility from us as team to get a decent performance,” admitted Ferguson.

“The Christmas period – when we went through it with the players – we set a target of nine points and while we fell short, after that first loss, it was vitally important that we showed the right character to win the next two.

“I felt Oldham was about that where we showed the right determination to get the result and then at Southend we won 3-0 and it could have been more.

“We’ve got to take care of ourselves and there’s probably a lot of fans who haven’t been in a while and I have spoken to the players about that before.

“I think it’s really important that we put a good performance on because there is a bit of a buzz around the place because the results have been good and it’s important that we get as many “bums on seats” as we can.”

Ferguson will cross swords with a former Manchester United teammate in Mark Hughes – whom he described as a “deep thinker” – and is now at the helm at the Britannia Stadium, pushing for a place in Europe in three different competitions.

“He’s very deep, Mark. He’s quite methodical and playing with him and everyone knows what he was like as a player,” said Ferguson.

“You have to say wherever he’s gone as a manger, he’s done well and the stats stand up. He’s changed Stoke and made them a very good footballing team. He’s recruited well from Spain so he’s done an excellent job with his team and they're probably one of the form teams in the league.

“They're a good team with good fluency in their team and the front four are a real handful. They don’t really stay in their positions, they float around and try and get possession of the ball.

“We want to make an impression on them but we know at times we’ll have to be disciplined and accept the fact that they’ll have a large percentage of possession.

“We have to embrace that (the coverage), this is what you want and this is what you do it for. There’s more media and more cameras a down at the training ground and if you want to get to the highest level then this is what you’ve got to go through.”

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