Newport goalkeeper Joe Day does not plan to lose any sleep over the prospect of facing Sergio Aguero and company in the FA Cup on Saturday after missing the birth of his twin girls in the last round.
Day hit the headlines in the fourth round after becoming a father to Sophia Grace and Emelia Lillie during County’s FA Cup giant-killing of Middlesbrough.
That impressive 2-0 win set up a fifth-round tie against Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions – and Day insists he is sleeping soundly ahead of another sell-out Rodney Parade occasion.
“The girls have been great,” Day said. “I’ve been sleeping really well.
“I think it’s down to the fact there’s two of them and they’re close together that they’ve slept so well.
“We know how good Man City are and that it will be an extremely difficult game.
“But we’ve got to tackle it with a bit of optimism and make sure that we enjoy the occasion, because for League Two footballers these occasions don’t come round too often.
“Even if they rest a few, the strength of their squad is world-class and it’s not a case of them being weakened.
“But as professionals we want to test ourselves against the very best, and to see the likes of Aguero and (Kevin) De Bruyne grace Rodney Parade would be great.”
Day’s story during the Middlesbrough tie caught the imagination both in Newport and beyond.
The 28-year-old ran off the pitch to be told that his wife Lizzie given birth at the Royal Gwent Hospital and that his 20-month-old son Harrison had two baby sisters.
“It was a pretty quick dash, I had to get out of my soaking wet kit and didn’t shower,” Day said.
“When I got in the car I rang Lizzie and she said ‘There’s two little girls here waiting for you’.
“It was a bit of an emotional moment and great knowing that they were both here safely and Lizzie was doing well.
“I was at the hospital within 10 minutes and I’m not afraid to say I had a little bit of a well-up, it was amazing to see two little babies there.
“I don’t have any regrets, because Lizzie has been fully supportive and said ‘you might have missed the birth, but you’ll be there for the rest of their lives’.
“Everything has turned out great – I’m just glad we won the Boro game!”
Newport stand to make over £1million from a cup run which sees them the lowest-ranked side – 15th in Sky Bet League Two – left in the last 16 of the competition.
Television fees (£553,750), prize fund (£405,000), commercial fees (£60,000) and radio fees (£29,000) account for the club’s windfall, yet County started this season’s cup run at the modest Surrey home of the Metropolitan Police.
“The tie was having the shoe on the other foot,” Day said.
“We knew from last season how difficult it was for the big clubs to come here, as Leeds and Tottenham had been to our ground.
“It is a different feeling and the weight of expectation is on you.
“But you go there knowing what the later rounds can bring, and that’s the magic of the FA Cup coming up against a team like City.”