ANDY Robinson says he is “delighted to have the distraction” of an FA Cup trip to Derby County this weekend as Tranmere take a break from their table topping exploits in League One.
Robinson notched the winner in the New Year’s Day success at Bury that completed a nine point haul from the Christmas holiday programme and extended Rovers’ lead at the head of the division to three points.
But the 32-year-old midfielder cannot resist the attraction of the Cup and the chance to help Rovers test themselves against a Championship side.
“I love the FA Cup,” said Robinson, who is enjoying a golden season with his home town team.
“This club has had some great cup runs in the past. I can remember scoring a goal for Swansea City in the FA Cup at Prenton Park and Iain Hume scored a world-class goal to win it for Rovers.
“There’s no pressure on the game at Derby. It’s just a nice distraction and we can go out there and enjoy it. There will be a good crowd and we will take a few of our own fans. I want to enjoy the day and see what happens. Anything can happen in the cup.”
Robinson added: “I am excited about Saturday. We’re all excited because we are brimming with confidence as a team at the moment.”
Robinson’s 55th minute goal at Gigg Lane was his ninth of the season and the first since he converted a penalty in the 3-1 win at Hartlepool at the start of November.
“I had not been getting into positions where I could score or create goals in recent games,” said Robinson. “But at Bury I took some chances, Liam Palmer played a couple of great passes for me and it paid off.”
Robinson says he is thrilled by the way Tranmere secured a three-point lead at the head of the division by winning all three Christmas holiday fixtures against Crewe Alexandra, Scunthorpe United and Bury, each by single goal margins.
“We’ve put together three wins since we took that 5-0 drubbing at Swindon just before Christmas and that shows character,” Robinson said. “It is very rare to see teams bounce back as well as that. The spirit in the camp is unbelievable and it’s part of my job to make sure it stays that way.
“Confidence is brimming again. I know everyone likes to see great football played on the floor but when you go to grounds like Gigg Lane in January you are not going to get that. We ground nine points out of three games.”
Robinson says he takes pride from seeing how well home produced youngsters such as Max Power and Cole Stockton have done in stepping up to the demands of first-team football after influential players such as Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Ben Gibson and James Wallace dropped out of the side through injury.
“The young players have come in and done well,” Robinson said. “I think they get confidence from seeing the first-team players winning football matches. They were itching to get in and show people what they could do.
“They are good players, they have ability. Young Max and Cole have done very well and don’t forget little Jake Kirby who is on the fringes of things here. I think all three will develop into good players at this club.”
Robinson admitted he was close to jumping into the midst of Tranmere’s 1000 strong travelling supporters after scoring the winner at Bury.
“In my mind I was in there with them,” he said.
“They have been terrific all season. This small club from the Wirral is making a bit of noise now. We are getting some recognition and I think we deserve it.”