Korey sounds cup battle cry
Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 15 November 2013
Heading the challenge . . . Korey Smith is convinced Athletic can tame Wolves.
ATHLETIC skipper Korey Smith does not fear going into the Wolves den again on Tuesday.
Lee Johnson's side head to the Midlands for a tough-looking FA Cup first-round replay - with a home tie against Mansfield Town awaiting the winners - but confidence will be high in the visitors' camp.
Athletic produced an impressive display in the first game last Saturday which ended 1-1, and followed that up with a crushing 5-1 Johnstone's Paint Trophy win against Notts County on Tuesday.
Smith, who has drawn praise from boss Johnson this week as he is in superb form, said: "It won't be easy down at Molineux, of course. Wolves haven't lost there in quite a while. "We had a really good go at them last week, though.
"We played well in the first game so that will give us some extra confidence.
"Wolves are probably the toughest team in the whole draw, but we created quite a few chances to score against them at home so why can't we go there and come away with a win?"
Kenny Jackett's Sky Bet League One pace-setters will still be missing a handful of players due to international call-ups, but that won't lead to any complacency as far as Athletic's attitude is concerned.
Smith (22) added: "Wolves might be missing a few players, but don't forget they are a big club so they will have plenty of top players on the fringes ready to step in.
"At the end of the day, they will always have very good players to come in and do a job, but it will be up to us to try to combat their strengths and show them what we are capable of.
"On our day I'd take us against anyone in this division. We have shown that we can match the so-called big teams on quite a few occasions.
"We won't be fancied to win, but if we keep this positive attitude then there can be no holding us back if we really start to get it together early in the game."
There is mixed news for Athletic on the availability front.
Jonathan Grounds is definitely out through suspension after picking up another yellow card in the Notts County victory, while parent club Burnley won't allow loan defender Joseph Mills to feature.
Youngsters Carl Winchester, Kirk Millar and Edijs Joksts will still be away on under-21 international duty.
However, recent injury victims Matteo Lanzoni (hamstring), Charlie MacDonald (ankle), Adam Rooney (foot) and James Wesolowski (hamstring) are all making good progress and will hopefully make the squad.
* DRAW for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern semi-finals takes place tomorrow morning at 10am on Sky Sports' ÔSoccer AM'.
Athletic will be in the hat with Chesterfield, Fleetwood and Rotherham.
Peterborough, Newport, Swindon and Stevenage are the Southern section semi-finalists.
* ATHLETIC youngsters Carl Winchester and Kirk Millar played the full 90 minutes for Northern Ireland under-21s last night.
However, Northern Ireland were beaten 3-0 by Italy in their latest UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifier.
Edijs Joksts is in the Latvia under-21 squad for tonight's qualifier in Leichtenstein.