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.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home