FA CUP star Robbie Willmott believes Newport County AFC can cause the biggest shock in the history of the competition by beating Manchester City next week.

Willmott opened the scoring with a stunning solo effort and made the second for Padraig Amond as the Exiles dumped out Middlesbrough in Tuesday’s fourth-round replay.

The winger, who was stacking shelves in a supermarket before returning to the club in 2017, has played a key role in County’s cup exploits over the past two seasons.

Willmott starred as Michael Flynn’s men beat Leeds United and took Tottenham Hotspur to Wembley replay last year, and again in the victory over 2016 Premier League winners Leicester City last month.

And now he’s ready to take on the reigning champions in front of the BT Sport cameras on February 16 (kick-off 5.30pm).

“Everyone’s buzzing about Man City coming here,” said the 28-year-old.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but when they arrive a week on Saturday and we see them in the changing rooms it’s going to be an amazing feeling.

“I think a lot of big sides underestimate us and when they get to Rodney Parade, they realise how hard it’s going to be.

“We try to make it a fortress, the crowd are on top of the players, and the pitch isn’t the best.

“We saw what they did to Burton Albion, but that was at the Etihad.

“Coming to Rodney Parade is going to be a completely different task.

“They won’t be able to play free-flowing football on that pitch. They’ll have to change their game.

“At the end of the day, we’re going up against 11 players and anybody is beatable.

“We’ve already beaten a side who have won the Premier League, so there’s no reason why we can’t pull off another major shock.”

South Wales Argus:

Tuesday’s goal was Willmott’s first this season and he admits that the FA Cup brings out the best in him.

“I’m full of confidence at the moment – my performances are really coming together,” he said.

“But I hadn’t scored this season so I saved it for a special night.

“It’s obviously frustrating because of our league form, but it’s the magic of the FA Cup and that’s what it does to some players.

“I love it when the cameras are here. It’s a chance to impress everyone out there.”

Willmott certainly took his chance to shine on the big stage and he celebrated with the County fans after the final whistle.

“I’ve been through highs and lows with this club and I think everyone knows how much the club means to me,” he said.

“I’ve got a special bond with the supporters, so I just wanted to enjoy the occasion with them.”

It was a far cry from being released by Terry Butcher back in 2015 and working at a Tesco while he played part-time for Chelmsford City.

“I was working from 6am to 2pm and then doing an hour in the gym, only training twice a week,” he recalled.

“I would have probably looked back and thought I’d wasted my career.

“But I managed to grind and work hard, I found my love for football again and managed to work my way back up and nights like this make it all worthwhile.”

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