Matija Nastasic says City know what to expect at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
The Serbian teenager may be relatively new to the Premier League, but he knows all about the threat Stoke City present and that the Blues will face a stern test as they bid to progress in the FA Cup.
Tony Pulis’ side have been excellent at home all season – bar a recent blip against Chelsea – losing just one of their 11 Premier League games and Nastasic believes the Potters will come out with all guns blazing.
“Of course, we know how difficult it is to play at the Britannia Stadium,” said Nastasic. “Stoke are a
well-organised team but we are prepared for a physical battle.
“We will have to work on defending the long ball into the box but we have played against this kind of challenge before and I am confident that we are good enough to go there and win.
“In Serbia and Italy, there are no teams like Stoke - they are a product of English football and that is their identity, I guess.
What they do, they do very well. I don't mind the physical challenge and I don't have a preference between a team that is physical or a team that plays football. I enjoy every challenge
While the Potters’ home form is impressive, City’s away form this season has been exceptional – also losing just once Premier League from 11 trips so far.
Nastasic believes the Blues should carry on as normal and not adapt a style more suited to face Stoke, though he is aware that it is almost 14 years since City last left the Britannia Stadium with a win.
“We know about the bogey team tag and also the pitch tends to be narrower than usual at the Britannia Stadium, so we expect a tough 90 minutes,” he said. “But Chelsea went there recently and won 4-0, so if we believe in our way of playing, work hard and play our football, I believe we can end our poor run of results at their ground.
“I am looking forward to the game. The FA Cup is a competition that everybody always looks forward to - supporters, the club, for us it is very important.”