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Karanka ready to put Man City to the sword and is glad Birmingham are playing at the Etihad

Playing against one of the form teams in the country certainly isn’t going to faze Birmingham City manager, Aitor Karanka.

The FA Cup Third Round has already had its fair share of shocks this weekend, with West Brom succumbing to Blackpool and Derby County losing to Chorley.

An out of form Brum side beating Pep Guardiola’s swashbucklers at the Etihad Stadium would surely represent the biggest giant-killing of this round, however.

That’s because the visitors have won only two of their last 14 matches, and only three at home in their last 28 at St. Andrews. It’s why playing away holds no fear for Karanka.

“When we are together, confident, committed – like we have been at Reading, at Bristol City and at Nottingham Forest – then it’s difficult for us to be beaten,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

“But when we are at home where we aren’t confident and things start badly, it’s difficult for us to score goals.

“Unfortunately for us, the team has that reaction. Even though Manchester City are an amazing team, it’s better for us if we are playing away from home.

“I trust this group. My job is to change that mentality to go on the pitch knowing that we have competed.

“The better the team they put out means they respect us more. If they go with Under-21 players it means they don’t respect us and I know Pep a little and I am sure they will respect us and want to beat us.

“I expect the best from them and I want the best from them because their best will bring out the best in us.”

As Jose Mourinho’s assistant at Real Madrid, Karanka crossed paths with Guardiola on a number of occasions in La Liga, so it’s fair comment that he’ll know more than most  about the type of football his team are likely to face on Sunday afternoon.

The fact that he wants his side to be brave and up for the fight should ensure a wonderfully entertaining 90 minutes.

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