Phillip Cocu has made it clear that Derby County are in for a tricky Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round tie at Northampton Town.
Derby will take on the Cobblers on Friday evening at the PTS Academy Stadium as they look to progress to the Fifth Round of the competition for the second season in succession (8pm kick-off).
Northampton, managed by former England defender Keith Curle, are in the Sky Bet League 2 promotion race and sit in the play-off spots.
Curle’s side overcame League 1 opposition in the Third Round by impressively defeating Burton Albion 4-2 away from home, having overcame Chippenham Town and Notts County in the previous rounds.
Derby, meanwhile, were 1-0 winners at Premier League Crystal Palace in their own Third Round tie with an impressive showing at Selhurst Park and are unbeaten in six matches in all competitions.
Cocu has made it clear Derby face a tough test at Northampton and has stressed the importance of having the right attitude and desire going into the tie.
Speaking to RamsTV earlier this month, Cocu said: “It is always a difficult match to play when you have an away game against a team from a lower division in the FA Cup.
“We also have the ambition and desire to win the game, so we need to produce the football we played against Crystal Palace with the same attitude and desire.
“If we can do that then we have the qualities to do what we need to do on the pitch, but it definitely won’t be easy for us.”
Cocu’s first taste of the FA Cup earlier this month proved to be a positive experience.
Chris Martin’s first-half strike saw the Rams overcome the Eagles to seal their passage to the Fourth Round.
The Dutchman has spoken of his admiration for the competition and explained: “There is great history with the FA Cup, and I think everybody knows, not only in the UK but even abroad, that it is a really special tournament.
“Everybody has the ambition to try to get as far as possible. You can draw anybody; nobody is excluded and that is what makes it very interesting.
“There are always big surprises in every round so that is why we cannot be comfortable by playing a lower league team because the surprise could be your club.”
He added: “We will have to make sure we are not it this time. It will be a great experience to be in the FA Cup again and we like to continue to the next round.”