West Bromwich Albion go into tonight’s FA Cup replay at Peterborough with Mark Venus under no illusions about the credentials of Posh boss Darren Ferguson.
Venus and Ferguson were team-mates at Wolves during the 1990s, establishing a friendship which continues to this day.
Albion’s assistant boss claims that Ferguson, son of Manchester United boss Sir Alex, was always cut out to become a manager in his own sense.
But is Ferguson junior a chip off the old block? Venus’s sarcastic reaction suggests so. But Tony Mowbray’s right-hand man insists that the younger Ferguson deserves to be judged in his own right.
“Darren is single-minded – I don’t know where he gets it from,” said Venus. “Everyone looks at him in relation to his father and it’s only natural that everyone is going to look at him and see how he does.
“I think it’s got its good points and it’s obviously got its hindrances.
“But he is definitely his own man. I played with him for a few years and he is definitely his own person who will succeed or fail on what he believes in.
“He was a good guy who liked his football and always talked about it and it was never a secret that he was probably going to have a go at management at some point.
“You have to give him the greatest credit because he has done very well.
“He is a level-headed guy who knows what he wants.”
The fourth round of the FA Cup has thrown together three all-Premier League ties, including a meeting between both Merseyside clubs and Manchester United’s game against Spurs.
If Albion overcome Peterborough tonight, they will meet Burnley or Queens Park Rangers this Saturday.
Venus admits that the path to the fifth round and beyond could open up for Albion.
“I hope everyone understands the importance of the FA Cup,” added Venus. “The FA Cup is big in our country and you would be remembered in the town by everyone if you happened to do well in it.
“Cups can open up and they have had a habit of opening up in the last couple of years.
“But you need to get through your round and once you do that you can look ahead.
“One bad draw could be a problem to you but if you can have a bit of luck in the draw and deal with the teams you’re playing against who knows where you can go?
“Portsmouth won the FA Cup last year only playing one Premier League team and they ended up with a trophy and a medal.
“It lifted the city last year and they went out and brought together some big players, maybe because of the thought of playing in Europe or maybe because they thought Portsmouth had crossed the line and won a trophy and could push on.”