Bristol City's manager, Gary Johnson, believes that victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in tonight's fourth-round replay would rank as his finest FA Cup giantkilling.
Johnson was in charge of City's West Country rivals Yeovil when the then-Conference side beat League opposition, in the shape of Colchester, 5-1 at Huish Park in the first round in 2000 before defeating Blackpool 1-0 away in round two. Three years later Johnson presided over4-1 and 5-1 home victories against Wrexham and Barnet respectively. But the former Latvia national coach says victory over the Premiership side on their own turf would top them all.
"The things we did at Yeovil provide great memories and are terrific achievements in their own right. But I think to beat a Premiership team in their own back yard would compare more favourably, especially when you consider the gap between the top flight and the other divisions these days.
"At Yeovil we were beating League sides that would now be in the equivalent of League Two and League One and the gap in terms of money and the quality of football was not that big. But now, for League One Bristol City to go to Middlesbrough and win in the FA Cup, that would be a huge achievement."
The Robins head to the Riverside looking to claim a Premiership scalp in the competition for the first time since Russell Osman's side defeated Liverpool 1-0 in a third-round replay at Anfield in January 1994.
Chris Weale will make his full debut in goal after Adriano Basso was sent off on Saturday, with the captain Louis Carey also suspended after amassing 10 yellow cards. The forwards Wayne Andrews and Kevin Betsy and the midfielder Brian Wilson are cup-tied. Richard Keogh, Craig Woodman, Liam Fontaine, David Noble, Alex Russell and Jennison Myrie-Williams are all set for recalls.
Middlesbrough will again be without Jonathan Woodgate, who has a hamstring problem picked up on England duty last week, so they may stick with a central defensive partnership of Abel Xavier and Emanuel Pogatetz who played against Chelsea at the weekend. Julio Arca is a doubt with an ankle knock.Reuse content