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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, January 3rd 2019

‘The pressure is off tonight’ – Smith

Jonny Smith’s Tranmere Rovers are looking to reach the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round for the first time in 15 years.

To do that, they face a home test against the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur this evening (Friday, January 4th, 7.45pm KO).

It goes without saying how big an occasion tonight’s tie is for Smith, who is on a season-long loan at Rovers.

The winger says the camp are “excited” for the cup showdown at Prenton Park, and will look to “try our best” against Mauricio Pochettino's men.

He said: “It’s a massive game for the club and all the lads are buzzing for it, to be fair.

“Everyone is excited because it’s a chance to test yourself against some of the best players in the world, so we’re all really excited about it.

“It’s exciting for me too obviously. When you’re younger, you dream of playing against big teams from the Premier League so on a personal level it’s really exciting.

“We all watched the draw in our own homes but as soon as it was announced that we were playing Tottenham we were exchanging messages on our Whatsapp team chat.

“Now we’ve got to go out there and know that there is no pressure on us. All we can do is go out there and try our best.”

Smith linked up with Mark Palios’ Sky Bet League Two side back in July and believes the experience has benefitted him as a young footballer.

He’s also looking to build on his goals tally and help Rovers push for promotion.

“It’s been brilliant,” Smith added. “Of course there are ups and downs but overall I’ve loved being on loan here. I have scored five goals at the minute but I’d love to get ten to match last season.

“I’ve played a lot of football and I have learnt a lot. I feel I am maturing as a player but I know there is still a lot to learn from the experienced players. But I’m continuing to grow and step up as a player.

“We’re three points off the play-offs we stand. We started the season brilliantly so to finish in the play-offs is the aim.”

Tonight’s tie kicks-off the Third Round of matches in the FA Cup and will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

Bristol City will host Huddersfield Town at Ashton Gate tomorrow (5.30pm KO).

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