Mansfield Town midfield ace Jacob Mellis said it would be pointless travelling to Cardiff City tomorrow if the Stags didn’t believe they could pull off an FA Cup giantkilling.
Neil Warnock’s Championship high-flyers are favourites to reach round four.
But Mellis said confidence was high for a Stags side with only one defeat in their last 18 matches and Cardiff would underestimate them at their peril.
“I think the pressure on us is less as they are two divisions higher than us, but we have good players who we believe can go there and put on a good performance,” said Mellis.
“Hopefully they will underestimate us. Then we can show our quality and why we deserve to be in the third round.
“You just have to enjoy it. But you’ve always got to believe you can win otherwise there’s no point in turning up.
“Cardiff have been doing decent this season, but we’ll go there full of confidence.”
As Stags continue to churn out the results and edge up the table, Mellis said the squad was continuing to improve.
“We got 10 out of 12 points over Christmas so it was almost perfect. We couldn’t have asked for much more,” he said.
“It’s a great squad and it’s getting better – training standards are going up and everyone’s fighting for positions. Everyone is buzzing.
“Even if you are off it a little bit in training on the Thursday you can’t expect to be picked on the Saturday. We have a lot of players waiting in the wings, ready to step in.
“The gaffer still wants more. He is pushing us every day, even though we’re on a good run of form.
“No one is taking their foot off the gas.”
Mellis does not subscribe to the notion that the FA Cup has become devalued down the years.
He said: “Ever since I was a little boy you always watched the third round of the FA Cup. I am just happy to be playing in it.
“People say it’s not as special as it once was but I believe it is.
“You see non-League teams causing upsets and lower league teams causing upsets so I think it’s still special.
“Obviously we’re going up against a higher standard of players now with a Championship team.
“We’re looking forward to it, testing ourselves to see how far off we are, and hopefully beating them.
“Their quality will be better than League Two. But we have a good squad and we are going there with confidence.”
Mellis remembers the buzz of being part of a Barnsley side that reached the quarter-finals before an exit to Manchester City in March 2013, Carlos Tevez hitting a hat-trick.
“We were beaten 5-0 so no giantkillings, but to get to the quarter-finals was a good achievement. It was a good day,” he said.
“As you went through the rounds, seeing who you’d get, with the bigger teams left in, it creates a real buzz around the town.”
A former £1 million player at Chelsea, Mellis is only just starting to become a regular in the Mansfield midfield after arriving in the summer.
“It was a bit stop-start, not playing,” he admitted.
“But when you’ve got a big squad like this, it’s going to happen sometimes.
“I am enjoying my time here. I love the players and people.
“It’s a really nice club and I like it. I feel settled.”
Over 1,000 away fans are expected to cheer Mansfield on at Cardiff and Mellis added: “Hopefully our fans will just keep doing what they’re doing.
“We can hear them roar us on. Everyone is together and it feels good.”