Buddle accepts Spartans are massive underdogs against Birmingham

Defender Nathan Buddle admits Blyth Spartans face a “massive step up” as they prepare to face Birmingham City in the FA Cup third round.

So far in the proper rounds of the competition Spartans have seen off Conference side Altrincham and Buddle’s former club Hartlepool United, now the Amble born centre back can’t wait for Saturday’s game.

“I think they will be a massive step up,” he said.

“They are in the Championship for a reason and they are six divisions higher than we are.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that we are the massive underdogs but we will go out and give it our all, then who knows what might happen on the day.”

The second round win over Hartlepool United was one of the most famous in the club’s history and that is reason enough to celebrate.

But for Buddle, knocking the club who released him 18 months earlier out of the competition took some getting used too such was the level of joy it gave him.

“I said at the time that I had never been so satisfied after a game as I was after the Hartlepool game,” he said.

“It took some getting over and it took a while. Even after the third round draw when we were paired with Birmingham I couldn’t believe what had happened.”

For now Buddle insists it is business as usual for Blyth as they prepare for the game against the Blues.

Final preparations took place at training on New Year’s Day, but the defender believes that a sense of familiarity will give them their best chance of pulling off an upset.

He added: “I think it would be stupid to prepare differently for this game.

“I will do the same as I always do because at the end of the day it is 11 against 11 and anything can happen on the day.”