UP FOR THE CUP
Scunthorpe’s David Mirfin is eager to get stuck into Chelsea’s Diego Costa
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.
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.
“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.”
GUTS: Darren Way READY FOR BATTLE: Scunthorpe United’s David Mirfin is eager to take on Chelsea
TRICKS: Chelsea striker Diego Costa