Jones has realistic aims about Newcastle encounter

Hatters boss Nathan Jones is realistic about his side's chances of upsetting Premier League side Newcastle United in the FA Cup third round this weekend.

Friday, 5th January 2018, 6:30 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Although the Hatters have beaten swept most teams aside in League Two this season to climb to the summit, as they are currently the highest scorers in the country, even ahead of Pep Guardiola's free-scoring Manchester City

However, Jones knows they will be up against a different level of opposition on Saturday, when they run out at St James' Park to face the Magpies, who are currently 13th in the top flight.

He said: “We’ll have realistic ambitions. I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to beat a Premier League team, what we will do is we will be thoroughly prepared.

"We’re in good form ourselves, so we’ll go up there with no fear, but we’ll have an element of realism about it.

"We won’t go gung-ho, we won’t try and think we’re going to tear a Premier League side apart, because that’s not going to be the case.

"We have to respect the fact that they’re a Premier League side with internationals in their side, with a lot of good players, who won the Championship last year and to do that you have to be a fantastic side.

"They’re in varied form if you like without being disrespectful, or saying something that’s not true, but it will be a difficult tie, because of the proximity of where we are in the leagues.

“It will be a wonderful occasion in terms of pitting our wits against a Premier League outfit and it’s the beauty of the cup really, the romance of the cup.

"It’s about time we had a real romantic one and it will be a fantastic occasion going up there.

"It’s a wonderful stadium full of tradition and they're coming back to good times as well, so it’s a great tie for us."

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has hinted he may well make a host of changes to his side for the game, as he did at a similar stage last season, when they were knocked out by League One Oxford United 3-0.

However, Jones knows that whoever comes in for United will still be of a standard that Town aren't used to, saying: “We change our side for some cup games and all those come out with a real ambition and a real desire to do well, because they want to be in the side.

"So one, it could weaken them, or two, they could come out with a point to prove. Lets bear in mind, whatever happens, he’s going to be putting Premier League squad players into a game and that’s what we have to remember.

"It’s a wonderful game, but it’s going to be very difficult to go there and win it."