‘We take confidence in our character’ - Canaries captain felt Burnley provided ideal preparation for Newcastle clash
Norwich City skipper Grant Hanley believes Norwich City proved their mettle during a deserved FA Cup win at Burnley which sets them up for a crunch Premier League clash with Newcastle.
Hanley was on the score-sheet with a powerful header during the Canaries' 2-1 win at Turf Moor on Saturday, which sealed progress to the fifth round for just the second time in 13 seasons.
Beating top-flight opposition known for their aerial strength came as an added league boost as well, with Saturday's trip to Newcastle likely to also demand resilience in the air from City's players, as they try to cut their six-point gap to safety and keep the Magpies in the survival scrap.
"We kind of had that thought in the back of our heads, well I did anyway, that it could be similar to next week, so it was a chance for a bit of practice to be ready for it," said Hanley.
"We take confidence but we take confidence in our character as well, we showed that we've got the nuts to handle it.
"We definitely made a conscious effort to go out for the first 10 or 15 minutes and do the dirty side well and we've done that."
Hanley spent the 2016-17 season with Newcastle, making 10 appearances as the Magpies romped to the Championship title under Rafa Benitez's guidance, before joining Norwich in a deal worth around £3.5million in August 2017.
The Scotland international knows all about the atmosphere that can be generated at the 52,000 capacity St James' Park stadium but says that will hold no fears for City, after being unfortunate to lose 2-1 in front of over 58,000 fans at Tottenham last Wednesday.
"It's the captain's job to try and help push the lads through but we're all professional, we've got a job to do," he continued. "We went to Spurs last week so it doesn't really come any bigger than that really and I thought the lads were brilliant in the game. So we're looking forward to it."
Hanley's header at Burnley silenced the boo boys at Turf Moor who hadn't forgotten about the 200 appearances he had made for their local rivals Blackburn earlier in his career - and he relished that edge to the game, adding: "It can go one of two ways. You can let it get to you and get on top of you, or use it as fuel to push yourself to get better, and that's what I did."