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INTERVIEW: Mark Robins looks ahead to tomorrow's clash with Stoke City

City face Stoke in the third round of the FA Cup...

5 January 2018

Mark Robins' side welcome Stoke City to the Ricoh Arena in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Sky Blues won four of their five festive games and have climbed up into the automatic promotion places, but the manager now welcomes a slow down in fixtures.

"It has felt different this week because it has come off the back of a really busy spell," said Robins.

"We have had four games in eleven days and the Saturday-Monday games were a difficult turnaround, especially after a trip to Carlisle. All those things go into making winter Football.

"It became a little bit tough for one or two and we will be without a few for tomorrow.

"Rod McDonald will be training today, and hopefully we can have him back in, but there are a couple who are touch and go."

Robins' rival in the technical area will be his former teammate Mark Hughes, who set up one of the most famous goals of his career during an FA Cup clash for Alex Ferguson's Manchester United.

"Hughes will pick the strongest side he can because he will want to progress. That is no different to us, we want to progress.

"We have beaten Maidenhead and Boreham Wood but everything has flipped now. We are the underdogs and they are expected to win that so that changes the dynamic for us.

"The FA Cup is the greatest competition in the world because everybody feels like they have a chance and there are upsets caused all the time. 

"We will have to be at our maximum and they will have to be off it for us to pull a result. They have got international players in their team and players playing at the highest level so we expect a really difficult afternoon."

Duckens Nazon has returned to his parent club Wolves after his loan spell ended on January 1st and will not be signing a new deal with the Sky Blues.

"I spoke on the phone to Duckens last night. We had a conversation. He thinks he might have made the wrong decision by leaving but on the other hand he wants to try and persue something else. 

"I think he could be moving to League One or even the Championship, who knows.

"He has done well for us and we have had some good performances from him. I think he wants to play at as high a level as possible.

"We wanted to keep him, Wolves were happy for him to stay and his agent was too but Duckens wants to try and play at a higher level."

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