UP FOR THE CUP

Scun­thorpe’s David Mirfin is ea­ger to get stuck into Chelsea’s Diego Costa

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Nick Lough

SCUN­THORPE United de­fender David Mirfin is rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity of go­ing toe-to­toe with Chelsea’s ag­gres­sive Span­ish war­rior Diego Costa this af­ter­noon – and even hopes he tries a trick or two on him along the way! The Blues cen­tre-for­ward has been a tricky char­ac­ter both on and off the ball for Premier League de­fend­ers with his an­tics caus­ing one or two player to lose their cool. How­ever, 30-yearold Mirfin be­lieves that for Costa to try some­thing in to­day’s FA Cup third round tie at Stam­ford Bridge would be a sign that he is threat­ened by him – with his ag­gres­sive na­ture no dif­fer­ent to a typ­i­cal third tier for­ward in his eyes.

“I think he’s prob­a­bly like a typ­i­cal League One striker!” Mirfin told The FLP in re­gards to Costa.

“I think to Premier League de­fend­ers he’s a nov­elty but how he is de­scribed is how I would guess a typ­i­cal striker at this level to be.

“He likes more of a phys­i­cal bat­tle and who­ever comes out on top could win the game. If he tries any­thing, there’s noth­ing that could rat­tle me or get on my nerves.

“If any­thing, I would en­joy it and prob­a­bly think that I’ve got his

re­spect as he does it week in, week out in the league.”

For Mirfin him­self, the op­por­tu­nity to pull on a claret and blue shirt again was a lux­ury he was al­most ill-af­forded af­ter a dif­fi­cult year at Glan­ford Park.

Out of favour and sent out on loan to Hartle­pool in the last cam­paign, Mirfin was told he was sur­plus to re­quire­ments be­fore the 2015-16 sea­son got un­der­way – but the sit­u­a­tion took a sur­prise twist on the open­ing day of the sea­son.

Twist

On whether he thought he’d ever play for Scun­thorpe again, Mirfin said: “Prob­a­bly not, no. It got made pub­lic at the end of pre-sea­son that four of us were be­ing made avail­able to find an­other club and I think as soon as you hear that you know you’re not in the man­ager’s plans.

“Then first game of the sea­son Niall Cana­van got a bad in­jury and that’s how quickly foot­ball can change – I played the next three.

“I’ve been in foot­ball a long time and I know that any­thing can hap­pen. Luck­ily, things have worked out for me.”

To­day won’t be the first time Mirfin has graced the Stam­ford Bridge pitch, hav­ing faced Chelsea twice in three years whilst with Hud­der­s­field Town in the FA Cup.

As well as fea­tur­ing in mam­moth cup-ties against Manch­ester United and Manch­ester City with the Iron, Mirfin hopes he can make a big im­pres­sion in what could be his last game against top-flight op­po­si­tion.

“I’ve been there twice with Hud­der­s­field in my early 20s, but I haven’t started – I’ve been on the bench. I think now, at the age I’m at, I’m go­ing to en­joy the oc­ca­sion for what it is,” he said.

“It could be the last time I get to play against a Premier League team of the cal­i­bre of Chelsea at a sta­dium like Stam­ford Bridge. I’ll en­joy the buildup, the in­creased amount of Press and, most im­por­tantly, the game it­self.”

With the cen­tral de­fender well pre­pared for a phys­i­cal bat­tle, he ad­mits that it isn’t the size and strength that wor­ries him and his team-mates prior to kick-off, it’s the fast-paced pass­ing of play­ers such as Cesc Fabre­gas and Os­car.

“Those type of play­ers are go­ing to be the rea­son why they may have the up­per-hand at times,” he said.

“The gaffer (Mark Robins) men­tioned af­ter the Wi­gan game (a 1-1 draw last week­end) that we worked our socks off and cov­ered a lot of ground. At Chelsea, our work-rate’s go­ing to have to be all that and more to match them.

Work-rate

“A team like Chelsea in full flow is hard to con­tain for other Premier League teams so we know there is no pres­sure on us go­ing there, but, equally, we all want to give a good ac­count of our­selves.”

Chelsea were hum­bled 4-2 at home in last sea­son’s FA Cup by League One side Brad­ford – and Mirfin hopes Scun­thorpe can re­peat the feat.

“You have to look at what Brad­ford did last sea­son and use that as mo­ti­va­tion,” he added.

“At the end of the day, it’s 11 v 11. It would need them to not be on top form and for us to play the best we can, but we know it’s not im­pos­si­ble.

“We’ll go there with the be­lief that any­thing can hap­pen.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

GUTS: Dar­ren Way READY FOR BAT­TLE: Scun­thorpe United’s David Mirfin is ea­ger to take on Chelsea

TRICKS: Chelsea striker Diego Costa

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