North End have the odd situation of facing Newcastle United twice over the next five days, but assistant manager Glynn Snodin is looking forward to it.
But facing the side currently top of the second tier twice in the space of a week isn’t more difficult than any other game, Snodin said as he looked forward to the knock out tie.
“Before a ball is kicked every game is difficult, whether a team is top or bottom, but if you are mentally strong and play to your best then you have a chance in any game,” he said.
“We have a team spirit and team ethic that has often been mentioned, but it does go a long way. It is not just about ability and technique, if you have that organisation, that we try to have, then it does its job.
“It was a great performance and result to go and beat Norwich 1-0 at their place at the weekend and that is just a perfect illustration of it.”
Rafa Benitez’s men are seven games unbeaten, having won their last five in a row, but Snods feels that the North End’s squad’s mental strength will be an important factor in the game: “On paper there are some good players and some good teams out there, but our lads have a great mentality,” he continued.
“We are hard to beat. We have had one blip this season, down at Brentford when we had a crazy ten minutes, but apart from that they have been magnificent.
“The season seems to go quicker when you are winning games. You can’t wait for the next one, especially when you are going to places like St James’ Park in front of 40,000 plus fanatical fans, it’s just where you want to be.”
Tuesday’s hosts have been on a great run and have already sold 40,000 tickets for the game, something the assistant boss recognises as something that could be an important factor on the night.
“We know what to expect. Their fans love their football and they get right behind them. We have to make sure we try and quieten them down as early we can.
“If they get an early goal, like they did against Ipswich on Saturday, then it can be tough, but hopefully we can stop that and go and do what we did at Bournemouth.
“Credit to their manager for staying with them. He probably could have gone and got a Premier League job or at one of the top clubs in Europe, but he has probably seen what a great club Newcastle United are and what he can do there,” he added.