Rory Delap set for final throw at big time against Manchester City in the FA Cup

Barnsley veteran faces City in tomorrow’s FA Cup tie and, he tells Simon Hart, he aims to show he is no one-trick pony

Breaking into a sweat in the Spanish sun is one thing, but it was something else altogether that had Barnsley’s players feeling a little flushed during a recent stay in Marbella.

David Flitcroft’s squad had got together to watch Manchester City’s Premier League victory over Chelsea on their first afternoon away and according to Rory Delap, the Yorkshire club’s experienced midfielder, the sight of City in full flow led to “a few nervous laughs” and more, as the size of Barnsley’s task in tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final became fully apparent. “We watched the Chelsea game the other week as a team together and probably maybe shouldn’t have to be honest – there were a few sweating,” Delap says with a smile.

“Normally you watch bits of games but we all sat there and had a bit of craic. There were a few nervous laughs,” he adds. “We’re not stupid enough to think we’re going to go and outplay them, especially at their place, but you’ve just got to hope that on the day they don’t perform.”

If there are butterflies in the Barnsley ranks, though, there might also be a few nerves in the City side tomorrow should Delap get the opportunity to launch a few of his famous long throws into the home penalty area. After all, it was in the fifth round three seasons ago that he helped Stoke City overcome Roberto Mancini’s side, his deliveries into the box setting up the equaliser in the 1-1 draw at the Etihad and another goal in their 3-1 replay success. “We got one at their place [from Ricardo Fuller] to get the draw and we got a goal off it [by Ryan Shawcross to make it 2-1 in the replay] as well. It works sometimes. If I take 100 throws it could work twice,” says the 36-year-old ex-Ireland international.

Delap spent six years as a Stoke player before his January loan switch to Oakwell – midfielder Jim O’Brien walks by with a camera crew and jokes it is all he ever talks about – and during that time those throws became a prominent feature of Tony Pulis’s team’s attacking game. “Different managers, all throughout my career, have used it differently,” he reflects. “At Stoke it was well-publicised and used a lot. At Carlisle I used to do it in the last 10 minutes or so if we were losing, and the same at Southampton really, Derby used to use it to get in behind the defence.

“The thing that was different at Stoke was I was probably one of the smallest in the team – at over 6ft – which obviously helps with throw-ins. We had four or five different options in the box at the same time. Most teams have three or four at the most.” It brought the glare of the spotlight too though he offers a characteristically down-to-earth response when asked how it felt to become famous for his throw-ins. “It blew up for a couple of months a few years ago. People still ask me about it but it doesn’t bother me as long as I am playing somewhere.”

That somewhere tomorrow will be the Etihad with a Barnsley side sitting third-bottom of the Championship. There will be 6,000 Tykes fans and for Delap, it is a chance to make up for the last time he faced City on a “disappointing” Wembley afternoon when, as he recalls, neither team performed to their potential as Mancini’s men won 1-0 in the 2011 Cup final. “I don’t think they were at their best that day but we let ourselves down. I don’t know what it was, but everyone seemed to look a bit lethargic – both teams – and they just took advantage. I don’t know if it was nerves that got to us,” says Delap for whom it was a second taste of Cup final heartache after missing Southampton’s 2003 loss to Arsenal due to injury.

Barnsley’s prospects of reaching a Wembley semi-final may be slight but they should at least be well-briefed by Flitcroft, a young manager fast earning a reputation for his willingness to think outside the box. As Delap explains, nowhere at his five previous clubs has he encountered the kind of pre-match preparation chosen for their 3-1 fifth-round win at MK Dons when Flitcroft took his whole squad along to Doncaster to scout their opponents in a League One fixture. “He’s looking for new things. It was a good thing for us. As he said, if you take one thing out of the game it’s worth going.”

Delap is only three years younger than Flitcroft, the 39-year-old promoted from assistant manager to replace the sacked Keith Hill in January, yet he is impressed by the methods of a man getting the best out a group including Jacob Mellis, sacked by Chelsea for letting off a smoke grenade at the training ground, Kelvin Etuhu, the City academy graduate imprisoned in 2011 after a casino brawl, and ex-West Ham Cup semi-final hero Marlon Harewood. Delap adds: “I played against [Flitcroft] at the start of my career [for Carlisle against Chester]. He speaks to a lot of managers and he’s so eager to learn. He’s brought a lot of qualities.”

This includes a positive mindset that has yielded eight wins and just two defeats from their last 12 matches. Flitcroft’s family connection – brother Garry made his name as a midfielder with City in the 1990s – gives tomorrow’s tie romance and Delap hopes for some more on the Etihad pitch after this season of surprises in both cup competitions. “You look at teams like Bradford and what they did and it’s got to give you inspiration. We just hope we can perform on the day.” And, of course, that City are not at their fear-inducing best.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style