Coventry City boss's plan to avoid FA Cup giant killing by 'bullish' non-league flyers Wrexham

Mark Robins insists he’ll pick his strongest Coventry City team possible in order to avoid being one of the weekend’s FA Cup shocks.

The Sky Blues boss is expected to make changes to face non-league Wrexham who are 61 places below City in the football pyramid but he’s determined to get through what looks a potentially tricky tie on paper.

The Red Dragons are in fine form, currently second in the National League and pushing for promotion to League Two, having not lost in 16 matches. And Robins knows his opposite number Phil Parkinson will be gunning for a Championship scalp and a ‘giant killing’ headline to go with it.

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“The FA Cup is always a great occasion and they are always difficult games, whoever you play,” he said, “and the competition always throws up different challenges and tomorrow is no different. We are playing a side on the up, managed by a really experienced manager in Phil Parkinson who is doing really well.

“They are flying in the league and they haven’t lost many games this season, two away from home I think, and they will be full of confidence, bullish and with the backing of a lot of supporters coming over from Wales. So they will fancy their chances.

“So we have got to be focused and right on our game, and rightly so because they have a lot of qualities in their team. One of the big assets they have got is Ben Tozer’s throw which is like an Exocet missile, so we have to be ready for their threat.

“They have got a lot of good players; Elliot Lee who is finding that level to his liking. They have Paul Mullin’s goals (22), Ollie Palmer and Kyle McFadzean’s brother Callum is there as well, so it’s an interesting game and we are expecting a really difficult game so we have to be at it and focused, do the job and try to get through to the next round.”

As for avoiding a giant killing, Robins added: “We approach it like any other game. We know what they are capable of doing but know they will raise their game. We expect them to come full hit and really have a go by trying to upset the rhythm – all the things you’d expect.

“That’s what the FA Cup brings and why everyone loves it because there’s always the chance of a team from a lower division knocking out a team from a higher division, and that is the draw of the FA Cup and the beauty of it.

“There are upsets every single year and we have to hope that we’re not one of them. We have got to go and do the job properly.”

He added: “It will be a good atmosphere and hopefully we can put in a really good performance and get through. There’s a lot of noise around Wrexham who are spending a lot of money and trying to get themselves back into the league, which I am sure they will. They have famous owners now (Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney), are part of a Netflix series and it’s there for everyone to see so good luck to them, after tomorrow.”

As for his team selection, Robins said: “I will pick the team which is the strongest I can pick, bearing in mind the circumstances we’re in at the moment with people carrying knocks, a bit of illness or whatever. I have to go with players who are fully fit and available. Players have played a lot of minutes in a short space of time so how can we utilise that and their services and how we can win this game?

“Ultimately we want to get through but it will give other people an opportunity. There are five from nine subs in this competition and it just makes for an interesting tie.”

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