After the success over Premier League Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday night, PNE.Com caught with two men who returned to the side.
Ben’s Pearson and Davies both played their part in the first away win over a top flight side since 2008’s FA Cup win at Derby County in 2008, with the latter making his first start of the season and afterwards they were delighted to have played their part.
Pearson was a starter in the second round victory over Oldham Athletic, but with so few games under his belt seemed to be suffering with a bit of cramp in the latter stages of the extra-time period, only to then suddenly be over-lapping down the right and he explained that energy came quickly with the side protecting a lead.
“When you don’t play for a while it is hard to get going, but I am just glad that we won and I managed to help the team get a positive result,” said the No.4.
“When you haven’t played, you are not fully match fit, but I have been working hard and putting everything into practice in the game. You seem to get spurts of energy when you are winning and your tails are up, so it was just positive that I had the energy to keep going for the full 120 minutes.
“I think in the first half we played really well; at the start of the second we struggling a bit and we conceded two goals, but it just showed the character of the squad to come back and then I thought in the whole of extra time we were the more dominant side and we deserved to go on and win the game.
“The whole 14 players who played put a shift in and they can all be proud of what we achieved; going to a Premier League side away from home and to come from behind and win is a big achievement and considering the previous result in the league it just shows the size and quality of the squad we have here.
“I think the result tonight wasn’t the main thing, it was just a case of getting back to the ways we know we are capable of and working hard as a team and just showing the team what we can do and we did that on the night.
“It was great from the boys to put on that type of performance for the fans who had got down there on a Tuesday night – all five hours of the journey. Every credit to the fans; they were loud all game and I am just pleased we were able to send them away happy.
“We can just sit and see what the draw brings. We are into the last 16 of the competition, so we could draw a really bit team, so it will be exciting to see who we draw, however, the main priority now is Friday night against Wigan and we will look at that first.”
And now he and the other ten changes from the previous weekend’s league game must wait patiently to see if they are a part of the game against Wigan on Friday night, something he isn’t taking for granted.
“It is all about playing for positions,” continued the former Manchester United man. “There are 30 players around the squad who are all capable of playing.
“There are some tough decisions for the gaffer, but everyone showed what they can do and is ready to pull their weight if needed.”
Ben Davies, meanwhile, hadn’t pulled on a North End shirt since the opening round of the same competition in August 2015, at Crewe, but looked calm and composed as part of the back three and then in the second half at left back.
And the 21-year-old admitted he enjoyed being back part of the squad: “I found out on Sunday that I might be involved and then it was confirmed by the manager on Monday, so I had plenty of time to try and get prepared.
“I have been waiting a while, but we have a strong squad and I am just glad that the gaffer put me back in. I have been patient and I was delighted when he extended my contract for this year and hopefully I can push to be used a bit more now.”
He had a tough task in coping with the experience, pace and power of Max Gradel, Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban, but says that the task was an enjoyable one, made all the better by the result.
“You are always going to play against quality when it is a Premier League club,” he said. “But Hunts, Bails and Greg talked me through it and Maxi helped me out as well, so I felt quite comfortable in between that experience – it was good to play with them.
“We showed some real character. The gaffer mentioned beforehand that the fans had made the long trip down and it was a great effort from them, especially after Saturday’s result, so we dug in for them and it was great to celebrate in front of them when the third goal when in.
“Hopefully that made it worthwhile and we are very grateful for the support.
“There are a few lads, like me, who had been waiting for their chance and everyone seemed to take their chance tonight. It is amazing that when you are pushing and you need that goal, that you find that little bit extra; it was a great game to be involved in and I am glad we could get that win.”
And what of round four? “I hope we get drawn away to big club, because it will be a great day out for the fans and a great experience for us – but we aim to get through, no matter what.”