JAMES Clarke is desperate to experience the magic of the FA Cup with Newport County AFC – but knows Barnet are not to be underestimated this afternoon.

The Exiles will pocket £67,000 in prize money if they beat the National League side at Rodney Parade and progress into round three.

The Premier League and Championship clubs enter the famous competition at that stage and Clarke would love a crack at a big gun.

Michael Flynn’s Exiles famously locked horns with Manchester City, Tottenham, Leicester City and Brighton, something the 34-year-old would love to experience.

"I've not had a big-name draw and Newport are renowned for that,” said the experienced defender. "With any luck we can win against Barnet and draw somebody half-decent.

"I've not experienced getting a big Premier League side like Newport have, I can only imagine what that's like for the players, staff and everyone involved.”

Clarke has faced Southampton, then in the top flight, and Premier League Brentford in the Carabao Cup at Rodney Parade.

South Wales Argus: James Clarke climbs high for County against BrentfordJames Clarke climbs high for County against Brentford (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“The FA Cup has a bit more meaning and there is more at stake, especially with finances for clubs,” he said. “There is more on the line and it's always 'the magic of the cup' for this and not so much the League Cup because of its history.”

Clarke has been around long enough to know about the perils of looking too far ahead and knows that the Exiles will need to be fully focused come 3pm.

Barnet may be on a run of four straight losses in the National League but sit third and are contenders to return to the EFL.

“It will be tough, I have played in the Conference and don’t think that there is much, if any, difference,” said Clarke, who played at that level with Salisbury and Woking.

“You see that with the two that have come up - Wrexham and Notts County are doing really well at the top end of the table.

South Wales Argus: Former County man Courtney Senior in action for BarnetFormer County man Courtney Senior in action for Barnet (Image: Press Association)

“It will be a tough and physical game, Barnet are going well and it has the makings of a good cup tie.”

County head into the game in high spirits thanks to back-to-back League Two wins against Stockport last Saturday and Morecambe on Tuesday.

Clarke returned from a groin injury as a starter on both occasions, playing the full 90 minute to help ensure there was no late drama in the 2-1 successes.

“I could have done with it being Saturday to Saturday! It was backs to the wall in the final minutes but the lads helped me through it,” said the centre-back.

“Back-to-back wins lifts the mood and gives everyone confidence; it’s a bit of a positive time for us after a sticky spell with injuries and not filling the bench.

“It's been tough but everyone has dug deep, results may not have been great but performances have not been too bad. Keep putting performances in and results will come.”

If County make it three on the spin then Clarke may just get his big FA Cup tie.