The FA Cup has always been a special competition for Derby County captain Wayne Rooney.

Regarded as the best cup competition in the world, it provided the Rams' skipper with his greatest footballing memory as a fan as his beloved Everton defeated Manchester United in 1995 under the stewardship of Joe Royle.

Paul Rideout got the winner for the Toffees that day in a 1-0 victory and as a player, Rooney has experienced both the highs and the lows that the FA Cup brings.

He won the competition in 2016 as Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-1.

He has also lost in the final on two occasions, in 2005 against Arsenal and 2007 against Chelsea.

His love for this competition, however, remains strong.

“It’s a fantastic competition and I’ve been fortunate enough to win it,” Rooney told RamsTV. “I have also lost in two finals which isn’t nice but it’s a competition I’m very fond of. I love this competition.

“It’s given me my greatest moment as a fan, in 1995 when Everton won it, beating Manchester United. It’s always a competition I love playing in and it will be a tough game tomorrow night at Northampton.

“Everyone knows what the FA Cup is. It draws so many surprises over the years, so we need to make sure we are not one of those teams who suffer that.”

The Rams face a tricky trip to Sky Bet League Two side Northampton Town on Friday night with a place in the Fifth Round of the competition up for grabs.

Derby overcame Premier League opposition in the form of Crystal Palace in the Third Round but face a different proposition this time around when they travel to the PTS Academy Stadium.

Whilst the Rams will be regarded as favourites to progress through to the next stage of the competition, Rooney knows everyone in the Derby camp need to be wary of their opponents and approach the game correctly.

“We have to be professional,” Rooney admitted. “Second balls will be important tomorrow night and we have to be ready. We have to be ready to take a few kicks and be ready for the physical battle.

“Hopefully the time will then come for us to show our quality.”